Gov. Cooper issues new COVID Executive Order

(May 6, 2021 Issue)

Governor Roy Cooper and North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy K. Cohen, M.D. gave an update last Thursday on the state’s current data, trends and vaccination progress. As the state’s metrics and key indicators remain stable, Governor Cooper also signed an Executive Order outlining safety measures for the month of May. Executive Order No. 209 took effect April 30 and is set to expire June 1. As more North Carolinians get vaccinated and adhere to safety protocols over the course of the next month, the state anticipates lifting more restrictions on June 1.
“While our numbers are mostly stable, we have more work to do to beat back this pandemic,” said Governor Cooper. “Let’s work hard in May and get as many people vaccinated as we can before summer gets here.”
Under the new Executive Order, masks will still be required indoors but are no longer mandated outdoors. Masks are still strongly recommended outdoors by NC DHHS in crowded areas and higher risk settings where social distancing is difficult.
Executive Order No. 209 will also increase mass gathering capacity limits. The number of people who may gather indoors will increase from 50 to 100 and the number of people who may gather outdoors will increase from 100 to 200. Occupancy limits currently in place will remain the same.
“Fortunately, we now have enough vaccine for everyone. They are free and widely available across the state. In many places you don’t need appointment,” said Secretary Cohen. “For those who have questions, I encourage you to go to to learn about the benefits of the vaccines, potential temporary reactions you might experience, and answers to common questions.”
North Carolina continues to focus on distributing vaccines quickly and equitably. To date, the state has administered over 7 million doses. 48.7% percent of those 18 and up are at least partially vaccinated, and 39.2% percent of those 18 and up have been fully vaccinated.
State health officials are continuing to monitor COVID-19 and its more contagious variants in North Carolina, which is why it is important to continue to follow the state’s mask mandate and continue to practice safety precautions, including the Three Ws—wear a mask, wait 6 feet apart, and wash hands often.
Dr. Cohen also provided an update on North Carolina’s data and trends.
Trajectory in COVID-Like Illness (CLI) Surveillance Over 14 Days- North Carolina’s syndromic surveillance trend for COVID-like illness is level.
Trajectory of Confirmed Cases Over 14 Days- North Carolina’s trajectory of cases is level.
Trajectory in Percent of Tests Returning Positive Over 14 Days- North Carolina’s trajectory in percent of tests returning positive is level.
Trajectory in Hospitalizations Over 14 Days- North Carolina’s trajectory of hospitalizations is level.
In addition to monitoring these metrics, the state continues to respond to virus spread in testing, tracing and prevention.
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Reed Gold Mine is open

(May 6, 2021 Issue)

Looking for a fun, nearby, spring time day trip? Reed Gold Mine invites you to join the gold panning action during the 2021 gold panning season April 1-Oct. 31. Individuals aged eight years and older can participate for a $3 fee on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays only, weather permitting.
Space is limited due to COVID-19 safety protocols and only two tickets per person are available. There are no advance reservations and tickets will be sold first come, first served. Session times will be sold and filled in order received throughout the day.
All North Carolina COVID guidelines will be strictly maintained. Please visit the “Plan Your Visit” page on our website at to review the safety protocols in effect in the panning area and the entire site.
For additional information, please call (704) 721-4653 or email Reed Gold Mine is in southeastern Cabarrus County 12 miles southeast of Concord, 25 miles east of Charlotte, and 18 miles west of Albemarle.
Hours are Tuesday-Saturday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. The site is closed on Sunday, Monday and on major holidays. Admission is free. Reed Gold Mine is part of the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, Division of State Historic Sites, Office of Archives and History.
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The Crew and Holy Angels staff outside of our businesses in Cherubs on the Green in downtown Belmont.

The Crew returns to Holy Angels businesses

(May 6, 2021 Issue)

Holy Angels is thrilled to announce the return of  its crew members to its four businesses in Belmont and McAdenville on April 26, 2021.
“It’s been a long year for all of us, but we are so very excited to bring back our crew to the businesses,” said Holy Angels President/CEO Regina Moody. “Being able to provide these meaningful employment opportunities for them is critically important to our mission here at Holy Angels.”
Due to health and safety concerns, Holy Angels closed its businesses in March due to the Covid-19 pandemic. While the businesses reopened a few months later, the decision was made to keep our crew members at their homes for their own safety.
Despite not being able to work, the crew kept busy in their own homes with their daily routines and program activities such as arts & crafts, music, recreation, exercise and other hobbies.
All of the crew members were among the first people in North Carolina to receive the Covid-19 vaccination, along with other residents and staff, in January. Being fully vaccinated, and with Covid numbers decreasing, it was time to bring the crew back.
“Our crew members are really the face, heart and soul of our Holy Angels businesses. Whether it’s preparing food, cleaning tables or just interacting with customers, they are the true representatives of our mission,” said Moody.
Holy Angels started preparing for the return of the crew members in February which included updated training, safety protocols and testing. They are not only prepared, but very eager to return.
“I can’t wait to see some of my friends and favorite customers again,” said crew member, Cheryl. “It’s been a long year, but we’ve kept busy. I’m just so excited to get back there and see everyone.”
Crew members will be wearing personal protective equipment, including masks and face shields, while in the businesses. While we encourage our customers to engage and interact with our crew, please maintain a safe distance, and no hugs at this time (elbow bumps are great). Holy Angels continually aspires to provide competitive job opportunities to persons with all levels of abilities in an integrated work environment.
Cherubs Café opened nearly a quarter-century ago in downtown Belmont offering employment opportunities for those with intellectual developmental disabilities.
The Cotton Candy Factory next door to Cherubs is celebrating its 4th year.
Bliss Gallery opened in the same historic building four years ago as well.
Spruced Goose Station is now in its third year in McAdenville.
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Mt. Holly Springfest events set

Mt. Holly’s annual Springfest is just around the corner. Here’s a schedule of events.
April 27 - Drive Thru Senior Dinner, 5:30 pm @ Mount Holly Municipal Complex, this is a free dinner to Mount Holly Seniors, limited to first 300, call 704-827-3931 to reserve your spot.
April 28 - Drive Thru Kidsfest, 10:00 am @ Tuckaseege Community Center, Please RSVP Mount Holly Library 704-827-3581.
Community Dinner to be announced at later date
May 1 - Run Mount Holly 5K Run, 8:00 am @ Mount Holly Municipal Complex, Contact: Mount Holly Community Development Foundation 704-269-8454.
May 1 – Oasis Drum & Bugle Corps, Car & Truck Show, 9:00 am @ Farmers Market, Contact: Tommy Helms 704-621-9308
May 3 – Springfest Golf Tournament 9:00 am Shotgun start @ Pine Island Country Club, Contact: Cheri Love 704-951-0074 ext. 1000.

Bring your dog to Belmont’s PAWsome Scavenger Hunt

Join in an afternoon of fun with your favorite pooch at Belmont’s PAWsome Scavenger Hunt on Saturday May 1, 2021. The event will take place from 2:00 pm - 5:00 pm and participants can check in any time before 4:15 pm to begin. The PAWsome Scavenger Hunt will take you and your pup on a fun one mile walk through the River District, following clues that lead to the site of the proposed dog park.
 The PAWsome Scavenger Hunt will begin at Park Street United Methodist Church, located at 120 Park Street, with Commander-in-Leash’s Rob Kortus & Therapy Dog Sophie as the first stop.  The route is filled with fun activities and dog-friendly vendors for you and your pup along the way. Participants will finish at the proposed dog park location with an obedience training demonstration from Top Dog Training. 
A $25 ticket will cover your entry as an individual or your family of up to four humans (all four-legged participants are free) to participate in the scavenger hunt. Proceeds from the PAWsome Scavenger Hunt will go to the development of the proposed dog park.
The Main Street Advisory Board’s Design Committee, in its efforts to offer a variety of community experiences, including outdoor recreational opportunities supportive of downtown Belmont’s small, independent businesses, is excited to organize this fundraiser for the City of Belmont’s future dog park.
 To learn more or register for the event, please visit:

Lowell Arbor Day Celebration

In honor of Arbor Day, the City of Lowell is giving away free planting kits for kids and hosting a free community Shred-It event at City Hall on April 24 from 10am to 12 noon at City Hall.
The free planting kit will consist of a small planter, flower seeds, and gardening soil. There will also be some tree activity ideas for kids to do at home. The kits will be available from 10am-12pm in the City Hall parking lot, on a limited, first-come, first-serve basis.
The community Shred-It event promotes raising awareness about identity theft and fraud by reminding local residents about the importance of securely destroying personal documents.
This event is for secure PAPER document destructions. Regular sized paper clips, staples, folders, and envelopes are all safe for the shredding machines and can be included with the documents.
Any items you need shredded must be handed directly to Shred-It. City employees or City volunteers cannot handle your items. If you need any additional information, call the direct line of Shred-It at (800) 697-4733.
For questions on the kids planting kits, please contact Lowell Parks and Recreation at (704) 824-3518, option 4.
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Extension Master Gardenersm Group of Gaston County annual plant sale

The MASTER GARDENER Group of Gaston County (MGGGC) will hold their annual plant sale on Saturday,   May 1, 2021, 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.
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. The cashiers, sale tally personnel and silent auction will not be in the main plant sale area, allowing for more distance between the tables and for social distancing. There will be taped markings for flow and 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 Gardener sm 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                                                                                                               
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A Stuart Cramer High play cast with director Chuck Stowe.

Five reasons why the fine arts are awesome in Gaston County Schools

(April 15, 2021 Issue)

We know that music, theater, and other areas of the fine arts are important to public education.  In Gaston County Schools, there are many reasons why the arts are awesome.  Today, we are highlighting five of them:
1 – We win awards … lots of them!
Our fine arts programs receive recognition and awards in various competitions on a consistent basis.  Students participate in the Mid-Carolina Regional Scholastic Art and Writing Awards program, and they bring home Gold Key, Silver Key, and honorable mention awards each year.
Our theater arts students are able to put their hard work and dedication on display during the annual Blumey Awards, a program sponsored by the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center that highlights the best in high school drama across the Charlotte region.  In recent years, Stuart W. Cramer High School has earned its fair share of coveted Blumey Awards, and other schools have earned award nominations.
Our school choruses as well as our marching and concert bands often bring home top honors from regional and state competitions.
The annual Gaston County Marching Band Fanfare puts our high school bands in the spotlight as they present their halftime show during a full afternoon of performances.  Last year, the Marching Band Fanfare was recorded for the first time to air on Channel 21, and the broadcast itself was an award winner, receiving recognition in the N.C. School Public Relations Association’s Blue Ribbon Awards contest.
2 – We foster creativity, real-world skills, and a sense of belonging
The performing arts encourage creativity, self-acceptance, and much more for students, according to Melissa Glover, the chorus teacher at South Point High School.
“The arts provide a way for students to find a place to belong and learn real-world skills like working together, putting in extra effort, and being dedicated and responsible,” explained Glover.  “They get opportunities in chorus and other areas of the arts to refine skills and develop qualities that they are going to use for the rest of their lives.”
The fine arts also open students’ eyes to so many things about the world, adds Glover, who says developing an interest in and a love for the arts begins when students are young.  “We are fortunate to have outstanding elementary teachers in Gaston County who foster a love of the arts.”
3 – We have the stage where it all begins
For actors who make it big on Broadway, their career likely began on the small stage at their hometown middle school or high school.  The theater arts in Gaston County Schools is part of nearly 26,000 K-12 school-based theater programs in the United States.
Studies indicate that training in acting classes improves language and memory skills.  Further, creative drama enhances fluent and flexible thinking in students and also encourages public volunteerism.
The fine arts knowledge and techniques that students learn as youngsters are ones that contribute to them receiving a well-rounded education and perhaps landing a break on the big stage.
4 – We have alumni who found success in the arts
Students who gain arts-related experience in Gaston County Schools have the potential to become recognized for their professional work.  From theater careers in New York City to well-known singers and those who work hard behind-the-scenes as costume designers, screenwriters, and technicians, our alumni have made important contributions to the world of entertainment.
Some of our notable alumni include singers Maria Howell (Hunter Huss), Michael Todd Simpson (Ashbrook), and Jimmy Wayne (Bessemer City).  T. Oliver Reid (Ashbrook) has participated in 14 Broadway shows on the Great White Way during his theater career.
The mother-daughter duo Angela Harris (Ashbrook) and Emily Harris (Stuart W. Cramer) are known for their amazing work in costume design while Jeb Stuart (Ashbrook) had his writing turned into a screenplay for the movie “Die Hard” and other famous films.
These are just a few of our alumni who have made Gaston County Schools proud through their success in the fine arts.
5 – We have the state theater association president
Chuck Stowe, the theater arts teacher at Stuart W. Cramer High School, is serving this year as president of North Carolina Theatre Arts Educators (NCTAE).  He’s also a Gaston County Schools graduate (South Point Class of 1975).
Having earned the titles of NCTAE Educator of the Year and the North Carolina Theatre Conference K-12 Educator of the Year, Stowe’s love for theater shines through in the award-winning shows produced at Stuart W. Cramer as he inspires a passion for the fine arts in his students.  A strong advocate for the arts, we are fortunate to have Chuck Stowe as a part of the Gaston County Schools family.

Scavenger Hunt

(April 15, 2021 Issue)

Belmont’s Main Street Advisory Board is inviting you to join in a PAWsome Scavenger Hunt to be held along Catawba Street, Saturday, May 1st 2021, from 2:00 - 5:00 PM. This event is designed to provide a safe, fun activity for people and their pets that will both encourage pedestrian traffic and exploration of our River District, as well as raise additional awareness and financial support towards the construction of a dog park in beautiful Belmont.
The one mile walking route will begin at Park Street United Methodist Church and end at the proposed dog park location.
Your $25 ticket will cover you as an individual or your family (of up to four humans - all four-legged participants are free) to participate in the scavenger hunt. Proceeds will go to benefit the future Belmont Dog Park.

East Gaston wins
big home game

(April 15, 2021 Issue)

The East Gaston Warriors varsity football team won a big victory in their recent home conference game against East Rutherford (Forest City, NC) by a score of 54-13. Congratulations to the Warriors for the triumph.
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Volunteers left to right: Karen Rector, Karmen Adams, Roxann Rankin & Pam Smith.

60th Annual McAdenville
Easter Egg Hunt was a hit

(April 15, 2021 Issue)

On a beautifully chilled Saturday morning, the McAdenville Easter Egg Hunt tradition began its 60th year hosting hundreds of children.
Mr. and Mrs. W.J. Pharr started this tradition of welcoming the children of Pharr Yarns employees and the town residents in 1962.
Set in their spacious backyard, this event has grown with each generation as they return with their children and grandchildren.
Prize egg, bunnies, bounce houses, face painting, and refreshments filled the day as the little ones scurried to hunt.
COVID restrictions changed the activities this year but couldn’t contain the anticipation and excitement of children and adults alike.
The McAdenville Woman’s Club and the Pharr Family YMCA were on hand to ensure a safe and memorable time for all!

See more photos in this week's issue of Banner-News page 5
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Congratulations to GEMS Paramedics

(April 15, 2021 Issue)

Congratulations to GEMS Paramedics Cameron Keller (above left) and Lauren Baron (above right) for an outstanding accomplishment. Paramedics Keller and Baron responded to a patient in cardiac arrest. They provided aggressive resuscitative care and regained a pulse. The patient was discharged from the hospital and is doing well.

Gaston County Museum
virtual art show

(April 15, 2021 Issue)

The Gaston County Museum will present a virtual art show Through An Artist’s Eyes March 30 - May 28.
Each year the Gaston County Museum is pleased to partner with Gaston County Schools for a juried art show. This year’s exhibit will showcase over 100 pieces of artwork from area elementary, middle, and high school students.
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s exhibit will be completely virtual making it accessible to more visitors than ever before! Categories for submissions include painting, drawing, crafts, sculpture, digital art, photography, and more. All submitted artwork will be showcased on the GCM website and winners from both high school and middle school categories will receive special recognition and awards. Enjoy the amazing talent of our local students online at
 For more information contact Curator, Hannah Musselwhite at
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Just Plain Dog Show

(April 15, 2021 Issue)

Gaston County Parks and Rec. will have its 48th annual Just Plain Dog Show on May 1, 2021 starting at 10am at Dallas Park. Dress your dog up or bring it plain and take part in the fun. Trophies galore. Contact Spencer Hall at 704-922-2164 or for more information.

Board approves transition to Plan A for middle schools and high schools

(April 15, 2021 Issue)

The Gaston County Board of Education approved the transition of middle schools and high schools to Plan A.  This means that middle school and high school students will attend school four days a week (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday) for in-person instruction beginning Monday, April 12 after spring break.
Wednesday will continue to be a remote learning day for all students to allow for the “deep cleaning” of our school buildings and planning/professional development time for teachers and school staff.
Middle schools and high schools will be sharing more information about the transition from Plan B to Plan A for students grades 6-12.  Understand that this does not affect elementary schools, which have already transitioned to Plan A for in-person instruction four days a week with Wednesday as a remote learning day.
It is important to note that Gaston County Virtual Academy we will continue to operate for students who are currently enrolled in full virtual learning.  Students in the Virtual Academy will continue to receive online instruction at home five days a week.
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Teachers get school supplies from Classroom Central at pickup event

Teachers in Gaston County Schools are getting additional school supplies for students thanks to the school district’s on-going partnership with Classroom Central.
On March 17, Carr Elementary School in Dallas hosted a curbside pickup event for teachers, who were able to register to receive a box of school supplies.  Classroom Central delivered 150 boxes, which included pencils, pens, copy paper, crayons, color pencils, folders, notebooks, and more.  The donated items were valued at approximately $24,318.
Due to COVID-19, Classroom Central changed the way it provides resources to schools.  The organization started a program that allows eligible teachers to order essential school supplies online and receive them safely via contactless pickup.
During the pickup event at Carr Elementary, teachers drove up to the school, checked in, and a staff member put the box of supplies in their vehicle.
For fourth grade teacher Takasha Morrow, the supplies came at the right time now that students in grades K-5 are back at school for in-person instruction four days a week.
“It’s a blessing to share the supplies with students who need crayons and pencils not only at school, but also at home,” said Morrow, who teaches at Carr Elementary.
During the 2020-2021 academic school year, Classroom Central has distributed $2.7 million worth of school supplies in the Charlotte region and hosted more than 3,200 school supplies pickup events like the one at Carr Elementary.  For more information about Classroom Central, please visit

School secretaries successfully complete program

Gaston Schools has announced that six of its financial secretaries have successfully completed the N.C. Association of School Business Officials’ (NCASBO) School Treasurers Academy. The professional development program includes sessions that focus on school finance law, internal controls, general accounting concepts, and other important topics related to school bookkeeping. Honorees include: Wendy Hawkins, Catawba Heights Elementary (pictured); Jessica Higgins, Pleasant Ridge Elementary; Aenita Hudspeth, Pinewood Elementary (pictured); Rhonda Peregory, Bessemer City Primary; Carla Steele, John Chavis Middle School; Tina Walker, Hunter Huss High School.
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Gaston Christian runners compete...

(March 25, 2021 Issue)

Gaston Christian School athletes took part in a middle school cross country meet last week.
Cayden Brack finished 3rd in the 100 and 1st in the 200 with PR’s in both events, Dillion joy was second in the 200 and 5th in the 100.
Micheal sparks, Micheal Beebe, Johnathon baker and Blake Jones also ran personal bests in the 100
Jordan Knox was 2nd in the 400 meter dash, Henry Roberts ran a 5:56 in the 1600, he’s just the 2nd seventh grader in team history to run under 6:00.
Cole McGinnis made the finals in shot put.
For the girls, Olivia van pelt was top 5 in both the 100 and 200 meter dash’s, Anslee Perkins collected a pair of 3rd place finishes in the 400 & 800 and Gianna mungo added a 5th place finish in the 800.
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Callie Payne

East Gaston senior awarded prestigious scholarship

(March 25, 2021 Issue)

Two incoming Lees-McRae College students for Fall 2021—Callie Payne of Mount Holly, and Mary Wood of Lenoir —have been chosen to receive the Elizabeth McRae Scholarship, which fully covers tuition for four years of college.
 Payne and Wood were awarded the scholarships after participating in Scholars Day, an annual event hosted by the Honors Program where admitted students participate in essay and interview competitions.
 The scholarship is named for Elizabeth A. McRae, a well-known educator who taught in Western North Carolina in the early 1900s. Rev. Edgar Tufts honored her commitment to education by naming his school for girls the Elizabeth McRae Institute.
 Payne, one of the two recipients, said she fell in love with the campus the first time she visited.
 “I am looking forward to the unique education that I will receive and the relationships that I will make,” she continued. “At Lees-McRae, I feel like I will be more than just a number and I am so excited to begin my journey as a Bobcat!”
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Top Speller

(March 25, 2021 Issue)

Congratulations to Pinewood Elementary School 5th grader Luke P. for spelling his way to the top of the school’s spelling bee contest. He will represent Pinewood at the Gazette Spelling Bee on March 31st. Other top Pinewood spellers included Nathan B., Sadie H., Laila J., Grayson M., Jake M.
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Cramerton to host
Float the Fork event

(March 25, 2021 Issue)

Join in for a beautiful spring paddle, touring all of our river access points and fishing piers in Cramerton.
This free, bring your own boat community event is open to paddlers of any experience level. Kick off your spring, summer and fall paddling.
Check in at the Goat Island Bridge at 8:30am and put in at the Centennial Center River Access. Then paddle upstream to the Wilkinson Boulevard Bridge to tour all the River Access and Fishing Piers in Cramerton along the South Fork. Then float back down the Centennial Center to give paddlers who need a break a chance to take out of the river.
For those paddlers feeling extra spunky, continue down river to tour the Riverside Park and Baltimore River Access and Fishing Pier. Then paddle back to Centennial Center where everyone can relax on Goat Island or enjoy some much needed post-paddle grub and hydration in Riverfront Downtown.
***Subject to change based on COVID-19 restrictions***
Date: Saturday, March 27
Time: 9am-11am
Check-in begins: 8:30am
Cost: FREE
Location: Centennial Center River Access - 141 8th Avenue; Cramerton, NC.
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Art Around Gaston!

(March 25, 2021 Issue)

This week’s Art Around Gaston takes us to the Mount Holly Community Garden, where this lovely mural has taken root. With its vivid colors and appetizing depictions of various verdant vegetables, this mural is sure to nourish your senses. Stop by and take a look today. The mural was designed by Terry Rhyne and painted

by Boyce McKinney
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A proud family of professional truck drivers is waiting on a sister and daughter, Danicqua Knox, to join them on the road after she graduates from Gaston College’s Truck Driver Training program. Family members, Stephen Good, brother; Deborah Knox, mother; Danicqua Knox, Gaston College student; and Dontavious Cooper, brother; look forward to graduation day. Danicqua will be the fourth in their family to graduate from the Gaston College Truck Driver Training Program.  

Gaston College program makes truck driving a family affair

(March 25, 2021 Issue)

The Truck Driver Training program at Gaston College has put members of one local family on the road to rewarding careers. Danicqua Knox, who will graduate from the program in March 2021, is the latest family member to go through the program, following her mother and two brothers.
Danicqua’s mother, Deborah Knox, became interested in truck driving as a career about 19 years ago, but circumstances prevented her from pursuing it until several years later. When the timing was right, she researched various driving schools and determined that the Gaston College Truck Driver Training program was the best fit for her. She entered the program in January 2011 and graduated in March of that year. “Graduation was the best day of my life,” said Deborah. “In my opinion, the program instructors were the best any school could ever have.”
When Deborah first started driving, she would take turns bringing her children on the road with her. Her sons, both of whom worked in the warehouse industry, enjoyed the experience, and decided to follow their mother’s career path.
Danicqua is enjoying the Gaston College Truck Driver Training program and has been riding with her mother on weekends to get some extra training.
The Truck Driver Training Program at Gaston College, a collaborative program with Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute, gives students the training required to operate tractor-trailer rigs, get their commercial driver’s license (CDL) and become professional truck drivers.
Graduates of the program will have the opportunity to be employed by commercial trucking companies, become an owner-operator, or take advantage of local jobs. The Truck Driver Training program is certified by the Professional Truck Driving Institute (PTDI).
The next Truck Driver Training class begins on May 25, 2021, with a mandatory orientation session on Wednesday, May 5. The 8.5-week class consists of classroom instruction, range driving, and road driving. The cost for tuition and fees for the class is $1,876, well below the average cost for commercial truck driving schools. A payment plan is available, and there are opportunities for GEER and SECU scholarships to partially defray the cost of tuition and fees.
For more information about the Truck Driver Training program, contact Donna Blake at or 704-922-2267.
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Town of Ranlo Staff receive vaccines

(March 25, 2021 Issue)

Over two-thirds of the Town of Ranlo’s staff is fully vaccinated with the COVID-19 vaccine. Don’t wait! Call 704-866-3170 to book your appointment and see when you are eligible to be vaccinated.

Town of Ranlo photo
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Jenkins named finalist in 2021
National Merit Scholarship Program

(March 18, 2021 Issue)

Gaston Day School is excited to announce that  Senior, Tori Jenkins, has been named a Finalist in the 2021 National Merit Scholarship Program.
Finalists are based on an outstanding academic record through high school, participation in school and community activities, demonstrated leadership abilities, employment, honors and awards received, be endorsed and recommended by a high school official, and must write an essay.
About 15,000 Semi-Finalist advanced to the Finalist level. All National Merit Scholarship winners will be selected from this group of Finalists. Approximately 7,600 Finalists will be selected to receive a Merit Scholarship® award. Scholarship winners will be announced beginning in April 2021.
Photo by Allen McLamb

Gaston County High School students to attend 2021 Governor’s School

(March 18, 2021 Issue)

Congratulations to the 15 Gaston County high school students who were chosen to attend the prestigious North Carolina Governor’s School 2021. Check out the list below to see if you know someone who is going to Governor’s School, and if so, give them a “shout out.”
Governor’s School - East at Meredith College, Raleigh
Aaron Hollar, East Gaston High School - Instrumental Music, Euphonium
Luis Tejada, East Gaston High School - Social Science
Evan Friday, Forestview High School - Math
William Barnes, Forestview High School - Natural Science
Amy Hernandez Gutierrez, Hunter Huss High School - English
Kylie Puett, North Gaston High School - English
Dylan Nicks, South Point High School - Math
Hailey Royall, Stuart W. Cramer High School - Natural Science
Governor’s School - West at High Point University
Amarah Kendrick, Ashbrook High School - Dance
Austin Moss, Forestview High School - English
Margaret Lu, Forestview High School - Social Science
Navaeh Meadows, North Gaston High School - English
Lydia Crawford, South Point High School - Choral Music, Alto 1
Scotlyn Wyatt, South Point High School - English
Autumn Deal, South Point High School - Visual Art
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Congratulations to Ricky Brown (left seen with Chief Ryan Baker) on his retirement from the Mount Holly Fire Department. Ricky has been a valuable part of the department for ten years, and everyone has gained so much from him over the years. Thanks Ricky for your work and dedication. MHFD photo

Congratulations to Ricky Brown

(March 18, 2021 Issue)

Congratulations to Ricky Brown (left seen with Chief Ryan Baker) on his retirement from the Mount Holly Fire Department. Ricky has been a valuable part of the department for ten years, and everyone has gained so much from him over the years. Thanks Ricky for your work and dedication.
MHFD photo

An Imperial
Easter egg exhibit

The Gaston County Museum, 131 West Main Street, Dallas, will feature a new exhibit, now through May 29, 2021, in the Gathering Room Gallery and on the museum  website at  highlighting Imperial Easter eggs.
George and Edith Poston collected rare, beautiful decorative eggs from all over the world. This exhibit showcases this large, unique collection of decorative eggs donated to the museum by the late couple’s family.
Delving into the history of decorative eggs and Faberge eggs, this exhibit will explore why the egg became a traditional symbol for Easter and features decorative eggs in a variety of materials including wood, glass, and gold inlaid with various gemstones.
For more information, contact, Hannah Musselwhite, Curator, at
Currently the museum is open to the public:  Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 10am – 5pm. Hours are subject to change due to local pandemic guidelines.
The museum has implemented new safety and cleaning procedures in line with CDC, state, and county guidelines to safeguard our staff and visitors.

Holy Angels adds innovative technology to its special education programming

(March 18, 2021 Issue)

By Shawn Flynn

Internationally recognized as innovators, Holy Angels continues to enhance its special education programming by adding two 70-inch Sharp Aquos Interactive Whiteboards in its classrooms in the Morrow Center.
“This is transformative for our education program,” said Charli Sommers, program director for the Morrow Center. “It’s going to enhance our teachers’ abilities to provide modified and adaptive lessons to our residents.”
A recent study showed Interactive whiteboards indicate positive effects on students with special educational needs and promote a multi-sensory style of learning.
There is solid ground based on the results of studies to  believe that IWBs are not only effective for instruction in general education classrooms, but also effective in special education settings making specific recommendations of the possible improvements that could be made utilizing IWB, for students with disabilities. Thus,  students with severe attention difficulties were helped to maintain attendtion to tasks and those with fine motor difficulties worked on coordination.
“I love the fact that instead of just talking to them I have the opportunity to show them and explore,” said Ashley Brown, special education instructor for Morrow Center, Area 1. “I can use a pointer to go hand over hand to help them engage with the boards.”
Not only do the boards come with state-of-the-art technology, but the stands are equipped with hydraulics, enabling instructors to raise the board to teach the entire class, or lower the board to allow individual students to interact with the lesson. Just a few weeks after installing the boards, instructors can already see a difference it’s making in the classroom.
“It absolutely enhances the education program,” Somers said. “It provides a multi-sensory approach for the residents. They are able to go up to the board, touch them, hear what’s coming out of the speakers and see the graphics on the screen.”
The residential-based program at Holy Angels ensures students can continue to receive the medical services they require throughout the school day, while also receiving the education they deserve.
“By providing choice-making options and increased involvement, these interactive whiteboards give our students the power to enhance their independence in activities, which in turn, enhances their overall quality of life,” said Holy Angels President/CEO Regina Moody.
The Aquos Interactive Whiteboards and accompanying technology were provided by a generous grant from the Challenge Foundation Properties, a leading charter school facility resource that provides comprehensive financial and logistical support to organizations.

New Extension Master Gardener
Volunteer course begins April 5th

(March 18, 2021 Issue)

Beginning April 5th, students will begin the journey to becoming an Extension Master Gardener (EMG) Volunteer. New for 2021 is the delivery of the course; offering participants the same great program, but from the safety and comfort of their homes. Virtual delivery also means flexibility of personal schedules. The 12-week virtual program will include weekly class gatherings with the Instructor, reading and homework assignments, quizzes, and fun interactive activities for everyone. Cost for the training is $125.00.
Upon completion of the course, students enter a one-year Internship, where they are required to volunteer 40 hours in their choice of many community activities. Interns also are encouraged to join the MASTER GARDENER Group of Gaston County, where they will meet other folks who have completed the process. Once the Internship is completed, they become Certified Extension Master Gardener Volunteers and commit to 20 hours of volunteer service and 10 continuing education hours per year thereafter. Is the Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Program for you?
To help you decide if you should apply, ask yourself these questions-  Do I want to learn more about the culture and maintenance of many types of plants?  Am I eager to participate in a practical and intense training program?  Do I look forward to sharing my knowledge with people in my community? Do I have enough time to attend training and to complete the volunteer service?
North Carolina Extension Master Gardener Volunteers support the mission of North Carolina Cooperative Extension by educating residents about safe, effective and sustainable gardening practices that grow healthy people, gardens, landscapes, and communities. Their vision is a healthier world through environmental stewardship. If you answered yes to these questions, this course is for you! Contact Julie Flowers, Horticulture Agent for Gaston County, at (704) 922-2104. Deadline for applications is April 1, 2021.
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Belmont Police Department
partners with NCMEO

(March 18, 2021 Issue)

The Belmont Police Department has partnered with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC). Belmont has a detective that focuses on crimes against children and monitors an array of networks that predator’s use to exploit children. NCMEC has created “NetSmartz” for young kids to learn about dangers on the internet. “NetSmartz” is an invaluable website that provides Videos, Games and Activities for kids of all ages to participate in to learn safer internet practices. Belmont PD will post monthly videos from “NetSmartz” as an ongoing reminder, but encourages everyone to explore the site and help  protect the youth of the community. Simply follow this link
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“Big Ben” Henderson selected Officer of the Month

(March 18, 2021 Issue)

Congratulations to Belmont Police Dept. Ofc. Ben “Big Ben” Henderson for being nominated as officer of the month, February 2021. Officer Henderson was nominated for his dedication to serving the public and building relationships throughout the community. Ofc. Henderson has been assigned to the downtown district since 2017 and has made countless interactions with citizens and business owners which strengthen the bond between The Belmont Police Department and the community we serve.
You may recognize Ofc. Henderson from the Downtown area, but do you remember his claim to fame in 2018? The spotlight fell on Ofc. Henderson two years ago when he accepted the “Lip Sync Challenge” where he performed “Every Breath You Take” by none other than… The Police.
City of Belmont photo

Belmont City Pride Day planned

(March 18, 2021 Issue)

Keep Belmont Beautiful and the City of Belmont will be holding their annual “City Pride Day” on Saturday, April 17.
Tables will be set up near the main entrance of Stowe Park in front of the Fighting Yank statue.
“Grab and go” supplies such as bags, picker tongs, and gloves will be available from 9AM till 11AM. Masks will be required, due to COVID19  there will be no food or drink served.
Please call 704-825-8587 or email to register yourself or a group.

Drive-In Bingo

(March 18, 2021 Issue)

Please join Gaston County Parks & Recreation for another Drive-In Bingo event, Friday, March 25th at 4pm. Event will be held in Dallas Park, in the parking lot at the end of Leisure Lane between the two lakes. Parking lot will open at 3:30pm, at that time we will hand each vehicle a bingo packet and direct them to their parking spot. One packet per vehicle, two cards per game per vehicle.
We play 10 games with awesome prizes!  We do ask that participants remain in their vehicles and practice social distancing. We will go over game rules prior to beginning.
This is an event open to everyone with no admission fee. If you have any questions or would like more information, please contact the Spencer Hall at 704.922.2164.
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Goodson named finalist
for Park Scholarship
at NC State University

(March 18, 2021 Issue)

Stuart W. Cramer senior Olivia Goodson, was recently named a finalist for the prestigious Park Scholarship to NC State University. She is the only Gaston County student continuing in the scholarship competition and vying to become one of the university’s 40 Park Scholars.
Gaston Schools photo

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Congratulations to the Gaston County Schools 2021 National Merit Finalists. This distinction is awarded to 15,000 high school students nationwide. The program awards approximately 7,500 scholarships in excess of $30 million. Scholarship winners will be announced in the spring.

Good News from Gaston County Schools

(March 11, 2021 Issue)

The Gaston County Board of Education received the following “good news” for the months of January and February 2021:
The following students were winners in the Gaston Regional Science and Engineering Fair: Abby Armstrong, Brianna Maga, Brittany Isaac, Carly Craig, Carter Robinson, James Gunter, Kaitlyn Anthony, Madelyn Ludwig, Martin Inman, Molly Self, Morgan Clark, and Patrick Nanney from Forestview High School; Luigi Bortolussi from Highland School of Technology; and Nikki Bortolussi from Mount Holly Middle School.
Bessemer City High School senior T’Kia Moore earned the Chancellor’s Scholarship from Appalachian State University.  This is a highly-competitive, full-tuition scholarship and only 10 students were chosen from a pool of 14,000 applicants.
Olivia Goodson, a student at Stuart W. Cramer High School, is one of 112 finalists for the prestigious N.C. State University Park Scholarship.  She is the only Gaston County student continuing in the scholarship competition and vying to become one of the university’s 40 Park Scholars.
Cherryville High School senior Ben Hayes was chosen as one of three “Campus Captain Award” winners for January 2021.  The honor is presented by the N.C. High School Athletic Association in partnership with Lowe’s Home Improvement to recognize student-athletes for their efforts to “Build Back Sports” during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Ben was instrumental in starting the Kindness Club at the school and took steps to help his fellow athletes understand the importance of following COVID-19 health protocols to ensure that athletics at his school could happen in a safe environment.  Scott Harrill, the school’s athletic director, submitted the award nomination.
Gaston County Board of Education member Dot Guthrie received the 2021 Coretta Scott King-Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement.  The national recognition is presented by the American Library Association, and it honors an individual for his/her outstanding contributions in areas such as literacy, education, and service to the community.
The Gaston County Schools Communications Department received 17 Blue Ribbon Awards from the N.C. School Public Relations Association.  The department won 16 awards in the following categories: digital media engagement (2), electronic media (6), image/graphic design (2), excellence in writing (3), marketing (2), and publications (1).  Additionally, the department won the “Best of the Best” award in the publications category for our “Gaston County Schools Storybook.”  The 17 awards for Gaston County is the fourth highest number of awards for a school district in the state.
For its “Positive Sign Thursday” feature on social media, Tryon Elementary highlighted members of the Gaston County Board of Education as a way to show appreciation and say “thank you” for their service to education and the community.
Yeva Hall-Williamson, school counselor at Stuart W. Cramer High School, was selected for the College Board Counselor Recognition program.  The acknowledgement honors outstanding school counselors for their hard work and dedication toward helping students, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.  It also recognizes counselors’ efforts to prepare students for college and career success.
Students from Ashbrook, Cramerton, Stuart W. Cramer, East Gaston, and Forestview earned 13 awards in the Mid-Carolina Regional Scholastic Art and Writing Awards program. The students won two Gold Key, four Silver Key, and seven honorable mention awards.
Highland School of Technology junior Lauren Tolbert won the 1A individual cross country state championship.  Her time of 19:15.05 set a 1A state record.
The following schools placed in the Festival of Trees competition sponsored by the City of Belmont: Belmont Middle, first place; Cramerton Middle and Pinewood Elementary tied for second place; and W.A. Bess Elementary, third place.
With the help of the Rotary Club of Gastonia, Angel Tree, and Roxanne Rankin, H.H. Beam Elementary was able to make the Christmas holiday special for 39 students.
Belmont Central Elementary received $2,000 from Duke Energy through the My Energy Kit Challenge.
Belmont Central Elementary student Addison Jones auditioned for the TV series “Go Iguanas!”  She will portray Mindy Maplewood, a student who attends a school for spies.
Belmont Central Elementary student Isla Rose Hightower will participate in the Braille Challenge, a program that motivates students to practice and hone their Braille literacy skills.
Bessemer City High School sophomore Janiya Adams broke a 37-year Gaston County single-game record by scoring 50 points during a recent basketball game.
The Carr Elementary cafeteria staff earned a 100 percent health inspection score.  It is the third consecutive score of 100 for the school.
Cherryville High School’s Scott Harrill became Gaston County’s all-time winningest basketball coach with his 380th victory.
Cherryville High School sophomore Rileigh Kiser was named the 1A Player of the Year for volleyball.  She is the school’s first student-athlete to earn all-state recognition in volleyball.
In lieu of the traditional “Polar Express” celebration, Chapel Grove Elementary held a “Winter Celebrations Around the World” drive-thru event with 345 students/family members participating in the program.  Additionally, an anonymous donor contributed $500 to the school to help a families during the Christmas season.
Cramerton Middle School eighth grader Noelle Martin won first place in the Veterans of Foreign Affairs (VFW) Patriot’s Pen competition at the local and district levels.  In addition, Southwest Middle School students Abigail Bruce, Caitlyn Killian, Ethan Dennis, and Megan Hogencamp received recognition certificates for their entries.
Stuart W. Cramer High School band director Kameron Radford was selected for membership in the American School Band Directors Association.  The national organization is for band directors whose mission is to promote, enhance, and preserve quality school programs through leadership and fellowship.
Stuart W. Cramer High School senior Nathan Linkous signed a National Letter of Intent to play football at Western Carolina University.
Stuart W. Cramer High School cross country runners Zachary Willer and Nicholas Willer finished sixth and seventh in the 3A state championship meet.
Forestview High School is a finalist for this year’s College Success Gold Award, which is presented to schools that have a multiyear track record of preparing students to succeed in college.
Forestview High School cross country runners Austin Brotemarkle and Oussama Ajala finished eighth and twelfth in the 3A state championship meet.
Forestview High School senior Traviyon Barnett signed a National Letter of Intent to play football at Fort Scott Community College in Kansas.
Gardner Park Elementary is participating in a Remote Learning Challenge that involves students earning points for the completion of at-home assignments.  Based on the number of points earned, the students are presented with karate belts.  Since the challenge started, the school has seen an increase in the number of iReady lessons and Schoology work completed.
 Hunter Huss High School was awarded a grant for an artificial intelligence-powered robot to communicate with families about attendance during the spring semester.  The chatbot will remind families of key deadlines and help address attendance-related issues.  The school was one of 60 schools selected to participate in the program out of more than 7,400 applications.
Hunter Huss High School students created beautiful mandalas (geometric diagrams) in the school hallways.
For the third consecutive year, Hunter Huss High School junior Allison Kimmel was named the Big South 3A Conference Swimmer of the Year.
Lingerfeldt Elementary received cleaning supplies and personal care packages from the Zeta Phi Beta Sorority.  The sorority also donated coats and shoes for students at the school.
Lowell Elementary students participated in the Kindness Challenge, which included daily efforts such as giving compliments to classmates, leaving appreciation notes for teachers, custodians, and cafeteria workers, etc.  In addition, the school sponsored a canned food drive to support local families through the Salvation Army and collected 1,040 items.
Pleasant Ridge Elementary second grade teacher Rhoda Verhosek won the Veterans Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 9337 and the Post Auxiliary’s Smart/Maher National Citizenship Education Teacher of the Year Award.  She was also selected as the District 13 VFW Teacher of the Year and received $100 and a certificate of recognition.
Pleasant Ridge Elementary principal Glenn Cook and assistant principals Dan Barber and Bridgette Best were accepted into the North Carolina Association of Principals and Assistant Principals’ 2021 Distinguished Leadership in a Remote Learning Environment program.
Every Sadler Elementary student received a bag filled with presents such as hats, gloves, mugs and candy from Christ Worship Center.  The church also provided lunch for the school staff.  Additionally, the school received dozens of coats, masks, and socks from Pisgah ARP Church and First Baptist Church.
Sadler Elementary students are completing two i-Ready lessons a week in reading and math.  With a focus on student engagement through the computer-based program, iReady participation has increased to 87 percent in reading and 89 percent in math.
Stanley Middle School collected more than 1,000 items for a local food pantry.
South Point High School senior Asheton Queen signed a National Letter of Intent to play softball at Gardner-Webb University, and senior Jackson Risk signed a National Letter of Intent to play baseball at Belmont Abbey College.
South Point High School sophomore Davis Adcock won the 200-yard individual medley title at the 1A/2A swimming regionals.  He also was a runner-up in the 100-yard individual medley backstroke.
South Point High School swimming coach Mary Ellen Lewis was selected as the Southwestern 2A Conference Coach of the Year.
Anna Dunbar and Emily Revels of South Point High School were chosen for the North Carolina Volleyball Coaches Association’s 2A all-state volleyball team.  In addition, Dunbar signed a National Letter of Intent to play beach volleyball at Jacksonville University.
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Stanley Middle School STEAM program

(March 11, 2021 Issue)

Stanley Middle School is home to Gaston County’s only STEAM Academy for middle schoolers. The school offers a curriculum that features a distinct emphasis on STEAM: Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics.
From the five STEAM areas, all students engage in lessons and activities involving science and math. In the sixth grade, students create a foundation of skills and knowledge related to technology. In the seventh grade, students build on what they have learned about technology and gain a perspective of the arts. In the eighth grade, students add the engineering component to complete the middle school STEAM experience.
In addition to core subject courses, students can take “core plus” classes in art, band, choir, Spanish, business technology, computer science, medical science, engineering, and physical education/health. Students may take the following high school courses: Math I, Spanish I, World History, and Earth and Environmental Science. This program provides a pathway for students to participate in the Health Sciences Academy @ East Gaston High School or the Technology and Industrial Engineering Academy at Bessemer City High School.
Students from outside the Stanley attendance area who will be in the sixth grade for the 2021-2022 school year may apply for this program. A lottery process will be used to determine the 40 sixth grade students who will attend (from outside the Stanley attendance area).
Visit our school choice webpage for more information and to submit your application:

Online workshop aims to improve overall health

(March 11, 2021 Issue)

North Carolina Cooperative Extension and Gaston County Adult Services are offering a free virtual workshop aimed at helping you live better and feel better. “Living Healthy at Home” a free six-week, online workshop beginning in March.
This workshop is an evidence-based, self-management program originally developed by Stanford University. It is designed for anyone with a chronic health condition to learn to manage his or her health. Individuals learn how to manage symptoms and to gain support by others who may be experiencing similar problems. Finding support from friends, family, and coworkers provides motivation and encouragement, as well as new ways to work through health problems and the challenges of COVID-19.
 “Living Healthy at Home” truly makes a difference in the lives of so many people, especially while dealing with COVID-19.  Many participants report how helpful the group discussions are as well as being able to problem-solve together on health issues that impact everyone,” said Linda Minges, program facilitator with NC Cooperative Extension.
The program consists of six weekly online sessions scheduled for Tuesdays, March 16 through April 20 from 9:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. All sessions will be held online so participants are able to remain safely at home. There is no cost to attend, but group size is limited to 12 participants, with priority given to Gaston County residents. A copy of “Living a Healthy Life with Chronic Conditions” workbook and a relaxation CD will be provided to all participants.
Gaining credible health information is necessary to understand your medical condition and treatment options, which are key factors in managing any health condition. Now is the time to take control of your chronic health condition!
The workshop is valued at more than $600 and fills up quickly, so sign up today! Pre-registration is required by contacting Linda Minges at 704-922-2127 or by March 5, 2021. This program is sponsored by Centralina Area Agency on Aging.

Lowell News

(March 11, 2021 Issue)

The City of Lowell is proud to present: You Got Egged! (When being egged is a good thing!)
Due to COVID, Lowell Parks and Rec. won’t able to put on its popular Easter Egg this year so they are bringing an Easter Egg Hunt to you
Lowell Parks and Recreation and the Lowell Community Committee will be delivering Easter eggs to registered kids houses in Lowell. A dozen pre-filled Easter eggs will be tossed into your yard for each registered child in the household during the week of Easter.
This free event is open to kids ages 0-12. Child must reside within the City of Lowell. Registration is open March 1-22. Please note that this event is limited to 100 registrations so registrations may fill up before the deadline.
 Post your after “you got egged!”photos to facebook or instagram using the hashtag #WeGotEggedinLowell
For additional details and to register your child: please visit:
Registration is now open for Lunch is Ready! A Drive Thru Easter Lunch for Lowell Senior Citizens. This event is open to Lowell residents for ages 60 and up. Meals are $3 each and can be ordered by calling 704-824-3518, option 1. The deadline to register is 3/19.

Queen of Apostles Easter meal

(March 11, 2021 Issue)

The members of Queen of the Apostles Church, 503 N. Main St in Belmont, will offer a meal kit to those needing to prepare an Easter meal at their homes. The meal kit will feed 4 people and will include a $20 gift card that can be used towards the purchase of a ham.
We can deliver a meal kit to your home on Saturday, March 27th, between 10am and 12 noon, or you can pick up a meal kit at the church on the same day between 10am and 12 Noon. To place your order, you have two options:
Call the church office to place your order. The  phone number is (704) 825-9600.  Give us your name, address, phone number, an email address if you have one, and the number of meal kits you need (maximum of 2).  The deadline to place your order is Friday, March 19th.
Or, go to the church’s web site,, look for the “Easter Meal Kit” slide and click there.  That will take you to the on-line order form. Be sure to indicate on the order form if you want your meal kit delivered to your home or if you will pick it up. If you pick up your meal kit(s) at the church on March 27th, please note the pickup times 10am to 12 noon.
A Blessed Easter to all!
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The field was named for Frady in 1999.

Dwight Frady Field safe - for now

(March 11, 2021 Issue)

By Alan Hodge

Last week word began circulating in Belmont that Dwight Frady Field and Crescent Park on E. Catawba St. would be sold by the City of Belmont so that apartments could be built there. The baseball field is named for long-time Banner editor the late Dwight Frady and the park portion for nearby Crescent Mills. Numerous calls were received at City Hall regarding the potential sale which prompted officials to issue the following statement from the City of Belmont.
“In the past 36 hours we have heard from many residents about the potential development involving the property that includes Dwight Frady Field and Crescent Park in East Belmont. The city does not own the land where this park is located. The city leases this land from the property owners, Belmont Land and Investment.
Belmont Land and Investment has met with city staff to discuss their interest in developing their properties on both sides of East Catawba Street, but no proposed development plans have been submitted.
The Belmont City Council recently made changes to the development review process that requires a much greater level of public engagement than what was previously required. If Belmont Land and Investment submits development plans for its properties, you will see a large blue sign erected on those properties with the development information on it.
You will also see all plans on the City’s website, which can be found at:
We value the importance of parks in our community and know that our residents would be greatly impacted by the loss of any of our park facilities.”

Gospel concert planned

(March 11, 2021 Issue)

Lowesville Gospel Concerts – 1062 South Hwy 16 – Stanley or Lowesville NC presents its next concert  Saturday, March 13th at 5:00 PM.
Bluegrass, Gospel, Celtic… music that is full of memories and feelings from long ago, as well as inspiration for today… that describes the music of The Dixie Jubilee Band (above). With seamless family harmonies, and a unique blend of instruments, Jubilee produces a sound that is beautiful and inspiring. The Rogers Family, a Lowesville favorite, will be doing their southern gospel program giving praise to our Lord Jesus.   (We will be wearing masks and social distancing.)
For information call  704-618-9762. As always a freewill offering only to be received.
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Congratulations to the Belmont Central Elementary cafeteria staff

(March 4, 2021 Issue)

Congratulations to the Belmont Central Elementary cafeteria staff. They have been awarded ten 100% Health Inspections in a row. The Cafeteria Manager is Jessie Maltba, Lead Person is Dianne Hughes. Cafeteria Assistants are Cindy Collette, Anita Duncan and Teresa Craig. Congratulations to them all for their hard work and diligence.
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Huggins brothers enjoy pie in 1950 Ford 

(March 4, 2021 Issue)

Brothers Stacy (right) and Jim Huggins took advantage of last Wednesday’s sun and went for a ride in Mt. Holly in this cool 1950 Ford convertible. The car had belonged to their father who passed away in 2018 and was an avid antique car collector. The car has a  flathead V-8 and the standard Ford 3-speed transmission, all original. “Our dad, Rick Huggins, owned the car for about 20 years ,” Stacy said. “He also owned a 1931 A-Model, a 1946 Ford Super Deluxe coupe, and a 1953 Chevy 3100 truck; they were sold after his passing. We decided to keep the convertible. It’s been a source of great enjoyment and memories of our dad and his love of antique automobiles. Dad was born in 1936 in North Belmont and worked most of his life in the industrial contracting business. At his passing at 82 years old, he was the president and CEO of the company he worked with for nearly 60 years. He was a Gaston County native who really enjoyed driving his cars around Belmont and Mount Holly when the weather was nice.”

Photo by Alan Hodge

Red Raiders & Bulldogs open football season

(March 4, 2021 Issue)

The South Point Red Raider football season kicked off last week with both Varsity and Junior Varsity games against the Burns High Bulldogs. The Varsity game took place at home and the JV contest was played at Burns which is located in Lawndale. The Varsity contest was a tight one with Burns pulling off a razor thin 28-27 win. South Point scored a touchdown with 53 seconds left to make it 27-28 and decided to go for two points.  The play was stopped by the Burns defensive unit and the Red Raiders couldn’t recover the onside kick. The JV game saw the Bulldogs bite down with a 40-20 victory. Here are scenes from both clashes. Scenes from JV game on page 13.
Photos by Calvin Craig Superraiders
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University of South Carolina recognizes Belmont scholars

(March 4, 2021 Issue)

Grace Campbell and Jessica Helton of Belmont have been named to the Fall 2020 President’s Honor List at the University of South Carolina. The President’s Honor List recognizes undergraduate students with a grade point average of 4.00 earned on a minimum of 12 credited semester hours.
Grace, a 2018 graduate of South Point High, is majoring in Experimental Psychology with a double minor in Criminal Justice and Business Administration. She has a 3.94 GPA and has been on the President’s Honor List for three out of five semesters and the Dean’s Honor List for the other two semesters. Grace is the President of the Active Minds Club where she has increased membership by 130%, a member of the Shandon Baptist Church College Leadership Team, and a sister in the Alpha Xi Delta sorority.
Jessica, also a 2018 graduate of SouthPoint , is majoring in Chemical Engineering with a minor in Biology. She has a 4.00 GPA and has been on the President’s List all five semesters. Jessica is the secretary for the Residence Hall Association, a member of Garnet Circle, a member of Alpha Epsilon Delta pre-health fraternity, and is on the Dean’s Council for Honor’s College.

Queen of Apostles Easter meal

(March 4, 2021 Issue)

The members of Queen of the Apostles Church, 503 N. Main St in Belmont, will offer a meal kit to those needing to prepare an Easter meal at their homes. The meal kit will feed 4 people and will include a $20 gift card that can be used towards the purchase of a ham.
We can deliver a meal kit to your home on Saturday, March 27th, between 10am and 12 noon, or you can pick up a meal kit at the church on the same day between 10am and 12 Noon. To place your order, you have two options:
Call the church office to place your order. The  phone number is (704) 825-9600.  Give us your name, address, phone number, an email address if you have one, and the number of meal kits you need (maximum of 2).  The deadline to place your order is Friday, March 19th.
Or, go to the church’s web site,, look for the “Easter Meal Kit” slide and click there.  That will take you to the on-line order form. Be sure to indicate on the order form if you want your meal kit delivered to your home or if you will pick it up. If you pick up your meal kit(s) at the church on March 27th, please note the pickup times 10am to 12 noon.
A Blessed Easter to all!

Gov. Cooper announces easing of COVID-19 restrictions as NC trends stabilize

(March 4, 2021 Issue)

As North Carolina’s numbers continue to show improvement and vaccine distribution increases, Governor Roy Cooper announced last Wednesday that the state will carefully ease some of its COVID-19 restrictions. Executive Order No. 195 took effect February 26th at 5 pm and will expire March 26th at 5 pm.
“Today’s action is a show of confidence and trust, but we must remain cautious. People are losing their loved ones each day,” said Governor Cooper. “We must keep up our guard. Many of us are weary, but we cannot let the weariness win. Now is the time to put our strength and resilience to work so that we can continue to turn the corner and get through this.”
“Keep wearing a mask, waiting 6 feet apart, and washing your hands. We’ve seen in the past how fragile progress can be, so we need to keep protecting each other while we get everyone a spot to get their shot,” said North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy K. Cohen, M.D.
The Executive Order lifts the Modified Stay at Home Order requiring people to stay at home and businesses to close to the public between 10 pm and 5 am. The number of people who may gather indoors will increase from 10 to 25, while 50 remains the limit for outdoors. The curfew on the sale of alcohol for onsite consumption will be moved from 9 pm to 11 pm. Some businesses, including bars and amusement parks, will now be open for patrons indoors as they adhere to new occupancy restrictions. Many businesses, venues and arenas will have increased occupancy both indoors and outdoors.
Executive Order No. 195 has two general categories of occupancy restrictions: 30% capacity and 50% capacity. Because indoor spaces have a higher risk of spread for COVID-19, indoor facilities in the 30%-occupancy category may not exceed two hundred fifty (250) people per indoor room or indoor space.
 30% Capacity Limit (may not exceed 250-persons in indoor spaces) includes Bars, Meeting, Reception, and Conference Spaces, Lounges (including tobacco) and Night Clubs, Indoor areas of Amusement Parks, Movie Theatres, Entertainment facilities (e.g., bingo parlors, gaming establishments), Sports Arenas and Fields*, Venues*.
*Indoor event venues with more than 5,000 seats may be excepted from the 250 person limit if they follow additional safety measures up to 15% capacity.
50% Capacity Limit includes Restaurants, Breweries, Wineries, Distilleries, Fitness and Physical Activity Facilities (e.g., gyms, bowling alleys, rock climbing facilities), Pools, Museums and Aquariums, Retailers, Outdoor areas of Amusement Parks, Salons, Personal Care, Tattoo Parlors.
Safety protocols such as masks, social distancing and frequent handwashing will continue to be important as people adjust to the new order, health officials said.
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Kristen Wilson (Belmont PD photo)

Kristen Wilson is Officer of Month

(March 4, 2021 Issue)

Join Belmont Police Dept. in congratulating Ofc. Kristen Wilson for being nominated as the officer of the month, January 2021. Officer Wilson was nominated for her leadership, dedication, diligence and outstanding performance for assisting patrol and going above and beyond the call for duty by maintaining a high standard of excellence at the Belmont Police Department. Officer Wilson has served the City of Belmont since 2018.

Queen of Apostles Easter meal

(February 25, 2021 Issue)

The members of Queen of the Apostles Church, 503 N. Main St in Belmont, will offer a meal kit to those needing to prepare an Easter meal at their homes. The meal kit will feed 4 people and will include a $20 gift card that can be used towards the purchase of a ham.
We can deliver a meal kit to your home on Saturday, March 27th, between 10am and 12 noon, or you can pick up a meal kit at the church on the same day between 10am and 12 Noon. To place your order, you have two options:
Call the church office to place your order. The  phone number is (704) 825-9600.  Give us your name, address, phone number, an email address if you have one, and the number of meal kits you need (maximum of 2).  The deadline to place your order is Friday, March 19th.
Or, go to the church’s web site,, look for the “Easter Meal Kit” slide and click there.  That will take you to the on-line order form. Be sure to indicate on the order form if you want your meal kit delivered to your home or if you will pick it up. If you pick up your meal kit(s) at the church on March 27th, please note the pickup times... 10am to 12 noon.
A Blessed Easter to all!

Sharing the Love...

(February 25, 2021 Issue)

Kudos to the City of Lowell Parks and Rec. Dept. that handed out  125 goodie bags to Senior Citizens at our Valentine’s Day Drive-Thru event. Special thanks to the volunteers for helping  put together these bags and to Lowell Elementary students for the handmade valentines. Also, special thanks Gaston County Adult & Aging Services, S and L Creations, and Speed Street Collision Center for donating items to go into the bags. 
City of Lowell photo
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Mt. Holly Police Dept. express gratitude

(February 25, 2021 Issue)

The Mt. Holly Police Dept. would like to send its sincerest gratitude to Hayden Gunnells for his artwork he created in honor of Officer Tyler Herndon. Hayden did such a great job on this and everyone thanks him for his hard work and his kindness. 
City of Mt. Holly photo
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Thank you!

(February 25, 2021 Issue)

Everyone had the privilege of honoring and thanking a young man named Parker Center at the Mt. Holly City Council meeting on February 8. Parker is ten years old and he attends school at Ida Rankin Elementary. He is currently in Mrs. Hannah Allen’s 5th grade class and he reports to Mrs. Kaylor for Safety Patrol. Parker decided to raise money to purchase ballistic vests for the MHPD’s two new K9s, Hank and Cash for his Safety Patrol Project this year. Parker addressed City Administration, Council, and members of the K9 Unit on Monday and presented these vests to K9 Officer Dodd, who handles Hank and K9 Officer Burchfield, who handles Cash. MHPD cannot thank him enough for his dedication to raising funds and the thoughtfulness in his gift to the K9 Unit.     City of Mt. Holly photo
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Mr. Terry Usery

Remembering long-time educator and former Gaston Schools Board member
Terry Usery

(February 25, 2021 Issue)

The Gaston County Schools family is mourning the death of Mr. Terry Usery, who passed away on February 14, 2021.
A long-time educator with more than 40 years of dedicated service to the profession, Mr. Usery worked as a classroom teacher, bus driver, and school administrator.  He served as principal of Page Elementary School in Belmont and Cherryville Elementary School before spending more than 16 years as principal of Tryon Elementary School, which he affectionately referred to as “the purrrfect place to learn.”
Mr. Usery began his career with Gaston County Schools in August 1974, working for 15 years as a teacher at Carr, Arlington, and Tryon elementary schools.  From 1989-1992, he was an assistant principal at Woodhill Elementary and W.C. Friday Junior High School before being named the principal of Page Elementary in July 1992.  After four years at Page, he spent one year at Cherryville Elementary, and then served as principal of Tryon Elementary until his retirement in 2014.
In 2013, Mr. Usery was named the Gaston County Principal of the Year.  He capped his career in education by serving as the Cherryville Township representative on the Gaston County Board of Education from 2016 until 2020.
When he was elected to the Board of Education, Mr. Usery answered the call to dedicate much time and energy to serving the students, employees, and families of Gaston County Schools.  He collaborated with his fellow Board members, Superintendent Booker, school administrators, teachers, parents, community leaders, and others to improve educational opportunities for children.
From the classroom to the principal’s office and all the way to the Board Room, Mr. Usery worked tirelessly during his entire professional life to be a staunch advocate for students, teachers, and the entire public school system in the community he so cherished and loved.  He was a voice, a beacon, and an ambassador for education because he wholeheartedly knew what quality teaching and learning does for children – it changes their lives forever.
Everyone associated with Gaston County Schools wishes to express our sincere condolences to Mr. Usery’s family and friends during this difficult time of loss and sadness.  Mr. Terry Usery, our loyal friend of public education, will be missed by all of us.
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A Sign of the Times of the Carolinas : (Front row left to right) Gerard Benson (bass), Toni Tupponce (vocalist), Tyrone Jefferson (Director/trombone), and Carl Ratliff (saxophone). (Back row, l to r) Tommy Green (drums), Rico Tyler (piano), and Van Sachs (guitar).

Musical performance by A Sign of the Times to be presented by Gaston College Multicultural Affairs Committee

(February 25, 2021 Issue)

 Beginning on Thursday, February 4, 2021, the Gaston College Multicultural Affairs Committee will present through a link on the College website a recorded performance by the core musical ensemble of A Sign of the Times of the Carolinas, a non-profit organization whose mission is to preserve the legacy of the African Diaspora through music, dance and the spoken word. The ASOTT ensemble performs original compositions, Classic R&B, Straight-Ahead Jazz and Old School Salsa music.
 The ensemble features Tyrone Jefferson, who is the Executive Director of A Sign of the Times of the Carolinas and the Music Director of the ASOTT bands. Also featured is Toni Tupponce, Program Director for the non-profit and lead vocalist for the ASOTT bands. Jefferson and Tupponce are hosts of the weekly “Saturday Night R&B House Party” program on WSGE 91.7FM, the Gaston College award-winning non-commercial radio station.
 The one-hour performance will include songs like Stevie Wonder’s “Love’s in Need of Love,” the Stylistics’ “People Make the World Go ‘Round,” and Tyrone Jefferson’s “Listen,” among others. Information or storylines about the selected songs may be interjected into the performance.
 “The Multicultural Affairs Committee is pleased to present A Sign of the Times,” said Judith Porter, President of MAC and Music Instructor. “While their primary focus is to present the experiences of Black Americans and the African diaspora through music, spoken word and dance, their presentations touch on themes that are universal and speak to the human condition.”
 “From our perspective,” said Tupponce, “we hope to reach people who are interested in or curious about Black History as related to the strength and importance of Black female icons throughout American history. Our storyline may also make a connection to the BLM movement.”
 Although the performance will not be presented live, Tupponce does anticipate that ASOTT will communicate with the audience. “The result of any performance is a two-way street,” she said. “It is our responsibility to put our best musicianship and heart into the performance. As the vocalist/storyteller, I share my interpretation of the lyrics based on where I am (emotionally, physically, and spiritually) in the moment. How the audience receives what we offer, and share is their responsibility and will depend on where they are at that moment and the openness of their heart and mind. That’s the real beauty and challenge of the audience-performer relationship.”
 The performance will be available through a link on You Tube at on the Gaston College website, posted under GC News, The presentation will be aired daily on Spectrum Cable TV, channel 21, February 22 -28 at 9:30 a.m. and 5 p.m.
 For additional information about the presentation, contact Judith Porter at
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Local students shine in art show

(February 25, 2021 Issue)

Students from Ashbrook High School, Cramerton Middle School, Stuart W. Cramer, East Gaston High School, and Forestview High School earned 13 awards in the Mid-Carolina Regional Scholastic Art and Writing Awards program. The students won two Gold Key, four Silver Key, and seven honorable mention awards.
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Nuevo Laredo, Acrylic on Wood, David Childers.

Local artists featured at
Gaston County Museum

(February 25, 2021 Issue)

The Gaston County Museum presents its newest art show featuring Gaston County residents David Childers and Robert Childers. A singer-songwriter residing in Mt. Holly, David Childers is the proverbial study in contradictions: a former high-school football player with an aw-shucks demeanor, a well-read poet and painter who cites Chaucer and Kerouac as influences. He fell in love with folk music as a teen and also listens to jazz and opera. He fed his family by practicing law before turning in his license to concentrate on his creative passions.
David Childers’ son, Robert Childers, also has interests in artistic endeavors. He is well known in the Charlotte music community as a musician, sound engineer, and promoter. Art is another facet of his creative personality.
About 13 years ago, David and Robert were traveling through Holland as part of a musical tour. They arranged for a visit to the Van Gogh Museum and were both subsequently inspired to begin creating art. According to David, “I do not have any rules for what I do in my art. I will leave it to others to judge and explain my art to themselves.”
The exhibit features a collection of folk art paintings on view beginning February 15 in the Depot Art Gallery, Anne Furr Learning Station.
For more information, contact Hannah Musselwhite, Curator, at

Arts at the Abbey presents
the Bechtler Ensemble

(February 25, 2021 Issue)

The Bechtler Ensemble will bring string trios from 20th century Finland, Hungary, and France as well as the beloved Austrian composer Schubert to Arts at the Abbey. Other composers featured on the program include Kodaly, Sibelius. Cras and Dohnanyi.
Tanja Bechtler is the artistic director of the Bechtler Ensemble that is currently in residency at Queens University and has a music series at the Bechtler Museum of Modern Arts, Central Piedmont Community College and at Queens University (all in Charlotte).
The ensemble features Lenora Cox Leggatt, violin; Vasily Gorkovoy, viola, and Tanja Bechtler, cello.
The concert is Monday March 1, 2021 at 8:00 PM in the Abbey Basilica, Belmont Abbey, Belmont NC. Admission is free. A limited live audience will be admitted. Masks and social distancing are required. Donations are welcomed.  The concert will also be live streamed -
To reserve a seat, call 704-461-6012 or email
This series is made possible in part by the Associated Foundation, Inc. of Belmont, The Gaston Community Foundations, The Monks of Belmont Abbey and other private donors.
Fr. David Kessinger, the most senior professed monk at Belmont Abbey, died February 7, 2021. A person of many talents and interests, he loved the arts, especially classical music. He was fond of Schubert.  This program is dedicated to him.
For more information: Karen Hite Jacob. 704-461-6012, or
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Mrs. Eskay selected
Staff Member of the Month

(February 25, 2021 Issue)

Congratulations Holbrook Middle School’s Mrs. Eskay for being selected as  Staff Member of the Month that best represents  the character trait “Courage!”. Mrs. Eskay is 7th grade ELA teacher.
Gaston Schools photo
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Interested in gardening?

(February 25, 2021 Issue)

The Mt. Holly Community Garden is  accepting applications for 2021 gardeners. Available garden beds are limited and going fast, $60 gardening fee covers everything except your plants. Visit for more details. 
Photo by Alan Hodge
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Stanford is Teacher of the Year 

(February 18, 2021 Issue)

Congratulations to Ida Rankin Elementary Mt. Holly’s New Teacher of the Year. Ms. Stanford was recently nominated as a candidate for the Gaston County Schools’ Linda Rader New Teacher of the Year Award. Letters of endorsement from the school were submitted on Ms. Stanford’s behalf and reflect the positive impact she has on the students and overall environment at our school. Ms. Stanford will meet a panel of judges during an interview session on Friday, Feb. 12 where she will be able to share her thoughts about being a teacher in Gaston County. In May, she will be invited to a reception at which time all nominees will be recognized and this year’s Linda Rader New Teacher of the Year will be announced.
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Hannah Clements is W.C. Friday Certified Employee of the Month 

(February 18, 2021 Issue)

Mrs. Clements contributes to the Leadership Academy in several outstanding ways, above and beyond her consistent and caring work as a counselor at WCF.
Hannah is always willing to go the extra mile for students and staff. She is doing an awesome job with the student news. She is also so positive and upbeat that it is contagious.
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New Look for Lowell Officers

(February 18, 2021 Issue)

There’s a new look for the officers of Lowell PD who has switched to load bearing vests. These will move the bulk of the weight typically worn on an officers hips and puts it on the shoulders. This is much more comfortable for the officers and it can help prevent back problems traditional police belts can cause. If you see an officer out and about feel free to ask questions.


Belmont police get starting salary raise

(February 18, 2021 Issue)

During its February 1, 2021 meeting, the Belmont City Council unanimously approved a request from Chief Chad Hawkins to increase the starting salary for Belmont police officers. The council action increases the starting annual salary for police officers from $39,749.00 to $45,000.00. The increase in starting salaries keeps Belmont Police Department competitive with other agencies and is an incentive for Basic Law Enforcement Training (BLET) graduates making decisions on which agency to consider serving. Agencies across the country are struggling to recruit and retain quality officers, as fewer people are entering the profession every year.
The Belmont Police Department is fortunate to have some of the most well-trained and educated officers in the state. The decision to raise the starting salary is a testament that our city leaders understand the urgency and support the police department.
The Belmont Police Department recently received accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA), a prestigious recognition that the department is following best practices and policies for a modern, progressive law enforcement agency. The City of Belmont supports its law enforcement professionals by providing a competitive salary and benefits package, training and promotion opportunities, necessary equipment, and a positive work environment. Law enforcement is a tough and rewarding career, and the City of Belmont is determined to continue to have the Belmont Police Department be an employer of choice for local law enforcement professionals.

Mout Holly Police Dept.
appreciates community support

(February 18, 2021 Issue)

The Mt. Holly Police Dept. wants to thank Lilly, Sammy, and the members of the Tyler Family for the meal they provided recently. This family has blessed MHPD with food and showings of support multiple times and the department could not be more appreciative for everything they do.    Photos provided
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Library expands public access, fully opens for services

(February 18, 2021 Issue)

The Gaston County Public Library (GCPL) announced last Wednesday that it will expand public access at the Main Library and its branches, beginning Monday, Feb. 22. All library locations, except the Ferguson Branch Library and TECH@Lowell, will be open Monday-Thursday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The Ferguson Branch Library (located at Erwin Center) will be open Monday-Friday, 12 p.m. to 5 p.m., and TECH@Lowell will not be open on Saturday. As before, a face covering is requested for all persons entering the library buildings, and everyone must practice social distancing protocols.
Due to the increase in COVID-19 numbers in January, the GCPL limited its services and the public’s access, allowing only patrons with computer appointments to enter the building and continuing to offer Curbside Service.
Now, the libraries will be fully open for all of its services, such as selecting items for check out, making photocopies, sending or receiving faxes, and using Wi-Fi or computers. However, makerspace devices at BC@BC and TECH@Lowell will continue to be unavailable at this time.
Due to limited capacity requirements, the library staff is requesting that all patrons limit their time inside the libraries so that staff can serve as many people as possible.
Curbside Service will still be available at all library locations by appointment only. For appointments, hours of operation, or if you have any questions, call your local library location or visit the GCPL website at
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Meals on Wheels Gaston Celebrates Volunteers

(February 18, 2021 Issue)

Meals on Wheels Gaston continues to celebrate its wonderful volunteers, who give so selflessly of their time to deliver meals with a smile to our homebound participants. Thank you John Ahrens of WSOC TV (above left) and Shiloh Keuler of Gaston County Department of Health and Human Services for all you do.
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Lemonade stand benefits community

(February 18, 2021 Issue)

Parker Smith set up a lemonade stand. It’s a time-honored tradition that’s aided many a kiddo in their quest for a toy or some extra spending money. He and his friend, Sterling Stephens, set out to make a little money of their own. Patrons who stopped for a cold, tasty drink and a treat may or may not have known of the duo’s financial intentions, but by the time they closed up shop, they had raised a tad over $150. Quite successful for a front yard business venture.
Not long after, the cold hard profits from the sale of Parker’s cold lemonade warmed  hearts when he donated them to the Mt. Holly Community Relief Organization... or more accurately, his neighbors in need. The CRO wants to say thank you to everyone involved in this contribution, and for being the change you want to see in the world.
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Carolina Pro Musica - Karen Hite Jacob, director, harpsichord, Rebecca Miller Saunders, soprano, Holly Wright Maurer, recorder, traverso, viola da gamba, Edward Ferrell, recorder, traverso.

Carolina Pro Musica continues 43rd season with music in England

(February 18, 2021 Issue)

Carolina Pro Musica continues the 43rd season with “The Flowering of the English Baroque” –featuring the music of Henry Purcell as well as those non-English composers who continued to make England’s music charming. These are Handel, J.C. Bach, Pepusch and Gottfried Finger all composers from Europe.  There are instrumental works for two eighteenth-century flutes, as well as trios for recorder and viola da gamba solo.  Vocal works are the famous “Music for a While” by Purcell, “As when the Dove” by Handel and two Italian arias by J.C. Bach (the London Bach), son of J.S. Bach.
The concert premiere is Saturday, February 27, 2021, at 7:30 PM on Carolina Pro Musica’s YouTube channel
The concert will be prerecorded and remain online.
Viewers are asked to support the production through contributions by mail, through or on Facebook.
Carolina Pro Musica was founded in 1977 to perform “Early music” – using period instruments and voice in the styles of the musical periods in which it was written.

Congratulations GEMS!

(February 11 ,  2021 Issue)

It’s time to start thinking about the Commissioners’ School of Excellence

(February 11 ,  2021 Issue)

Commissioners’ School is a summer enrichment program open to current ninth grade students (rising tenth graders) in Gaston County.  Now in its 34th year, the leadership development program offers students an opportunity to learn more about the Gaston community.
Interested students should see their high school guidance counselor for an application.  Applications are due by February 12.
Each year, approximately 60 students are chosen for the program based on academic performance, extracurricular activities (school and community), leadership potential, self-motivation, and written expression.  There is no cost to the students who are selected to attend.
Commissioners’ School challenges students to better understand themselves, life in Gaston County, and their roles as future leaders.  They participate in seminars, problem-solving activities, special events, and hands-on experiences as well as enjoy time with community leaders and guest speakers.  Lessons and activities concentrate on teamwork, communication skills, and community service.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the specific format for the Commissioners’ School program has not been determined at this time; the format will be announced this spring.  The goal is to offer participants the best experience possible while adhering to state and local health guidelines.
The school is named in memory of James S. Forrester, a former state senator and Gaston County commissioner, funded by the county commission, and coordinated by Gaston County Schools.
For more information about the program, contact Lori Collins,, or Bridget Matzke,
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Beverly Knits Inc. donated masks to Gaston PD

(February 11 ,  2021 Issue)

Beverly Knits Incorporated donated 500 masks to the officers and staff at the Gaston County Police Department. Thank you Parker Sytz and Beverly Knits for your support and gracious contribution.

Gov. Cooper, state education leaders say it’s time for in-person instruction in K-12 schools

(February 11 ,  2021 Issue)

Top state education leaders joined Governor Roy Cooper last week to call on K-12 school districts across the state to allow in-person instruction for all students. The Governor joined North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) Secretary Mandy Cohen, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Catherine Truitt and State Board of Education Chair Eric Davis to thank educators for their extraordinary work during an unprecedented time, to highlight ongoing research that shows that with proper mitigation measures, in-person learning is safe, and to emphasize the critical importance of ensuring all students have an opportunity to learn in a classroom.
“Protecting the health and safety of the people of this state, especially our children and our teachers, has been our goal,” said Governor Cooper. “We know school is important for reasons beyond academic instruction. School is where students learn social skills, get reliable meals, and find their voices. Research done right here in North Carolina tells us that in-person learning is working and that students can be in classrooms safely with the right safety protocols in place.”
Since the beginning of the pandemic, state leaders have emphasized the importance of returning students to in-person learning as quickly and safely as possible. Children who rely solely on remote instruction are feeling the negative effects of isolation, including learning loss, mental health challenges and food insecurity. The state’s public health toolkit details specific health and safety protocols K-12 schools must implement to keep students and teachers safe during in-person instruction.
“Even with the thousands of students and teachers attending school in-person across the state, we have seen few COVID-19 clusters in our public schools,” said NCDHHS Secretary Mandy K. Cohen, M.D. “Our Department will continue to serve our school communities, offering resources and support so we can keep our school doors open.”
Increasing evidence suggests that, with prevention measures in place, there are low rates of COVID-19 transmission in primary and secondary school settings even with high rates of community transmission. In addition, ongoing medical studies and peer-reviewed data affirm that children infected with COVID-19 generally have mild or no symptoms, and are less likely to spread the disease.
“Learning loss resulting from COVID has the potential to be a generational hurdle, but the data we have seen shows us that schools can reopen safely if they adhere to COVID prevention policies,” said Superintendent of Public Instruction Catherine Truitt. “For many schools, the logistics of returning to in-person instruction five days per week will be a challenge, but this is absolutely a challenge we must face head on so that all students have a chance to fulfill their potential. With strong prevention measures in place, and the scientific research to back them, now is the time to act. North Carolina’s students cannot lose any more time.”
“We know that to equitably and fully address the needs of the whole child in every student, it is imperative that schools reopen for in-person instruction,” said State Board Chairman Eric Davis. “Since August, public school leaders have proven the merits of the safety protocols that have kept our schools safe for students and staff.”
Governor Cooper, Superintendent Truitt, Chair Davis and Secretary Cohen sent a letter to local school board members and superintendents encouraging in-person instruction across the state.
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Schiele Museum Winter Wonderland

(February 11 ,  2021 Issue)

The Schiele Museum, 1500 E. Garrison Blvd.,  has opened its newest, original exhibit Winter Wonderland.  Winter Wonderland will be an adventure geared towards the youngest visitors to the museum as participants are urged to take off their shoes and sock “skate.”  It was opened to the public on Saturday, Jan. 16th for just $3 per person and will be free for Schiele Members. Tickets can be reserved online in advance at The exhibit is currently scheduled to be open through March 2021.
Winter Wonderland is fashioned to look like an outdoor pond that has iced over.  The winter scene is complete with taxidermy mounts of deer bounding through the forest and other wildlife peeking at the skaters. Children up to age 12 will be able to kick off their shoes and skate off some energy, practice some ice skating techniques, or just enjoy twirls and sliding across the floor.
As the coronavirus continues to be a concern for our community, The Schiele staff wanted to provide a low-contact experience for our youngest visitors to enjoy.  An anonymous sponsor provided support to help make this exhibit possible.  The Winter Wonderland experience will give children a way to exercise while having fun as families enjoy spending time together.
The museum has also opened its weekly Friday Night Light programs scheduled through February. These special planetarium programs will be offered each Friday evening at 5 PM, 6 PM, & 7 PM and will give families, couples, and adults an opportunity to experience a planetarium program after hours. New programs will be available each week, from live star shows to science theater programs from across the national planetarium industry. Limited seating provides ample room for visitors to spread out and pick their favorite seats to enjoy the show.
For more information, please visit or follow The Schiele Museum on social media.
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Mt. Island Charter School
swimmers excel at recent meet

(February 11 ,  2021 Issue)

The Mt. Island Charter School girls’ swim team won the 400m relay at the recent Regional Championship meet in Greensboro. It was the first ever 1st Place for MICS swim.
Pictured L – R- Emily Heil, Cailyn Oliverio, Sydney Strauss, Kiera Wiley. The team will compete for the State Championship on Friday 2/12 in Cary, NC.
Other Regional Championship results for MICS swimmers were: 
5th Place - Women’s 200 Yard Medley Relay- (Makenna Butlak, Cailyn Oliverio, Emily Heil, Brooke Harris)
11th Place- Men’s 200 Yard Medley Relay- (Connor Logue, Jack Johnston, Ethan Jung, Austin Ashburn)
6th Place- Women’s 200 Yard Free- Sydney Strauss
4th Place- Men’s 200 Yard Free- Jack Lazaroksi
9th Place- Men’s 200 Yard Free- Mason Greene
2nd Place- Men’s 200 Yard IM- Nolan Berry
2nd Place - Women’s 50 Yard Free- Keara Wiley
5th Place- Women’s 50 Yard Free- Emily Heil
5th Place- Women’s 100 Yard Fly- Sydney Strauss
2nd Place- Men’s 100 Yard Fly- Jack Lazaroski
4th Place- Women’s 100 Yard Free- Keara Wiley
4th Place- Men’s 500 Yard Free- Nolan Berry
3rd Place- Women’s 200 Yard Free Relay- (Cailyn Oliverio, Emily Heil, Sydney Strauss, Keara Wiley )
3rd Place- Men’s 200 Yard Free Relay- (Mason Greene, Ethan Jung, Nolan Berry,Jack Lazaroski)
7th Place- Men’s 100 Yard Breast- Mason Greene
1st Place- Women’s 400 Yard Free Relay-(Keara Wiley, Emily Heil, Sydney Strauss, Cailyn Oliverio)
5th Place- Men’s 400 Yard Free Relay- (Ethan Jung,Nolan Berry,Mason Greene,Jack Lazaroksi)
People who are advancing to States: 
Sydney Strauss (100 Yard Fly, 200 Free Relay, 400 Free Relay)
Keara Wiley ( 50 Yard Free, 100 Yard Free, 200 Free Relay, 400 Free Relay)
Emily Heil (200 Free Relay, 400 Free Relay)
Cailyn Oliverio (200 Free Relay, 400 Free Relay)
Jack Lazaroski (200 Free, 100 Fly, 200 Free Relay, 400 Free Relay)
Nolan Berry (200 IM, 500 Free, 200 Free Relay, 400 Free Relay)
Mason Greene (200 Free Relay, 400 Free Relay)
Ethan Jung (200 Free Relay, 400 Free Relay)
Alternates: Makenna Butlak, Brooke Harris, Connor Logue and Austin Ashburn.

Stanley cemetery cleanup

(February 11 ,  2021 Issue)

Cemetery Workday at Stanley Cemetery.
Volunteers are needed to assist in the removal of fallen leaves and tree limbs in the historic Stanley Cemetery. Date: Saturday, February 13, 2021, if rained out then Feb 20 Time: 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Contact Bob Mahovsky 704-678-6643 for information.


(February 3 ,  2021 Issue)


1 lb. sliced bacon, cut into thirds
1 (14 oz.) cocktail wieners
3/4 cup brown sugar
• Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
•Refrigerate 2/3 of the bacon until needed. It is easier to wrap the wieners with cold bacon. Wrap each cocktail wiener with a piece of bacon and secure with a toothpick. Place on a large baking sheet. Sprinkle brown sugar generously over all.
• Bake for 40 minutes in the preheated oven, until the sugar is bubbly. To serve, place the wieners in a slow cooker and keep on the low setting.

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 tsp.  paprika
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
10 chicken wings
oil for deep frying
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup hot sauce
1 dash black pepper
1 dash garlic powder
• In a small bowl mix together the flour, paprika, cayenne pepper and salt. Place chicken wings in a large, nonporous glass dish or bowl and sprinkle flour mixture over them until they are evenly coated. Cover dish or bowl and refrigerate for 60 to 90 minutes.
• Heat oil in a deep fryer to 375 degrees. The oil should be just enough to cover wings entirely, an inch or so deep. Combine the butter, hot sauce, pepper and garlic powder in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir together and heat until butter is melted and mixture is well blended. Remove from heat and reserve for serving.
• Fry coated wings in hot oil for 10 to 15 minutes, or until parts of wings begin to turn brown. Remove from heat, place wings in serving bowl, add hot sauce mixture and stir together. Serve.

Kelsie Painter earns Dean’s List recognition

(February 3 ,  2021 Issue)

Valdosta State University congratulates Kelsie Painter of Mount Holly, North Carolina, for earning a spot on the Fall 2020 Dean’s List.
Dean’s List honors are reserved for the highest achieving students at VSU. Painter is one of more than 2,100 distinguished and accomplished students recognized for exemplifying excellence in the attainment of their educational goals.
To qualify for Dean’s List at VSU, students must achieve a semester grade point average of 3.50 or higher on nine or more semester hours with an institutional grade point average of 3.00 or higher.

Local students named to Dean’s List

(February 3 ,  2021 Issue)

The University of Utah congratulates more than 9,700 students who were named to the Fall 2020 Dean’s List. To qualify, students must earn a GPA of 3.5 or higher in at least 12 graded credit hours during any one term.
Local students named to the Fall 2020 Dean’s List include:
Alessandro Della Corte of Gastonia, whose major is listed as Athletic Training BS.
Ryan Furukawa of Belmont, whose major is listed as Computer Science BCS.

Cramerton park bench fundraiser and donation

(February 3 ,  2021 Issue)

The Cramerton Parks and Recreation Department is offering a new park bench fundraiser and donation program.
As part of a newly adopted Parks and Recreation Master Plan, Parks and Rec. is starting with benches and wanted to offer the opportunity for individuals to donate a bench or give a bench in honor of an individual(s) for years to come.
There are currently have 35 opportunities for bench donations in Central Park, C.B. Huss Recreation Complex, Goat Island Park, River Link Greenway, and Riverside Park. Donors can choose the specific park in which they would like their bench to be placed. Donors can list their top three choices in a specific park where they would like their bench placed (we have a list of locations for each park that donors can choose from). Donors can pick from two different plaques that will adorn the benches. Donors have 36 characters which they can place on the plaque.
These benches have a 25 year life expectancy and will be adorned with a 4” x 6” plaque for the entirety of the benches useful life.  Benches will be blue or green powder coated, perforated, and mounted in ground with concrete.
These benches will not only make our parks more visually appealing but they are some of the most flood and vandal resistant benches on the market.
Contact the Parks and Recreation Department at 704-824-4231 with any questions or to reserve your bench today.

Community honors
Officer Tyler Herndon

(February 3 ,  2021 Issue)

The Mt. Holly Police Dept. would like to thank Anthony & Christine Trivette for this thoughtful gift to honor and remember Officer Tyler Herndon.                MHPD photos

Tribute To Office Tyler Herndon

(February 3 ,  2021 Issue)

Darius Czekaj (Pictured in gray shirt) recently created  an amazing work of art for the Mt. Holly Police Dept. He spent countless hours painting this lion with multiple coats of paint and various finishes to represent many special and thoughtful things related to law enforcement. On behalf of the MHPD, Darius, thank you so much for this amazing tribute to the honor and memory of Officer Tyler Herndon.

MHPD photos

Gaston Schools
Kindergarten signup

(January 28, 2021 Issue)

Gaston Schools 2021-2022 Kindergarten Registration is now available online. An online registration tool will enable you to register your child right from your own home. Children who are five years old on or before August 31, 2021, are eligible to register for kindergarten. Parents may call the Student Assignment Office at (704) 810-7284 for information about kindergarten registration. For more information, please visit
Amber Key, Gaston College alum takes every precaution to safeguard her patients from Covid-19 as a frontline worker in Gastonia.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Certified Medical Assistant Amber Key applies skills she learned at Gaston College

(January 28, 2021 Issue)

Amber Key, a 2018 graduate of Gaston College’s Medical Assisting program, has been a frontline worker in helping patients adapt to COVID-19 restrictions. Key manages the anemia clinic at Metrolina Nephrology Associates in Gastonia and has had to modify her normal procedures to observe the safeguards needed to protect her patients as much as possible.
Key was already a phlebotomist – a technician who draws blood for tests and performs blood transfusions – when she entered the Medical Assisting program in 2016. She graduated in May 2018 and had a perfect score on the American Association of Medical Assistants’ Certification Exam. “I chose Medical Assisting because I felt it would help make me more versatile in the workplace,” Key said.
She has worked at Metrolina Nephrology Associates since she graduated from Gaston College. Since COVID-19 has been a consideration, her job has become “more tedious” than it was before. “All patients have to be screened prior to coming into the office,” she said. “I see fewer patients on a daily basis due to needing more time for the screening and to trying to make sure patients are safely distanced from each other.” In order to minimize exposure for some of her more fragile patients, she has been going outside to their cars, where she does vitals and gets the capillary samples, she needs from them. “My main goal is to give the patients the best care that I can, and to keep them, my coworkers and myself safe.”
To ensure safety, Key always wears full Personal Protective Equipment, including face mask, gloves, goggles, and gown. She washes her hands frequently, and everything used in her workplace is sanitized and wiped down with approved cleaning agents. Key also makes sure to wipe down the steering wheel, door handles and other surfaces in her car.
The Gaston College Medical Assisting program gave Key the knowledge and skills she needed for her position. “I am very happy with my career. It fits my lifestyle,” she said. “My goal is to continue to learn as much as I can and continue to contribute as much as I can at my workplace.”
The coronavirus pandemic, however, has required some previously unanticipated adjustments to the way Key approaches her job. “I honestly don’t think that any amount of school can prepare you for actually dealing with a pandemic,” she said. “I do feel that my education at Gaston College prepared me for the change in my responsibilities because you have to know how to adapt to whatever is presented to you and still maintain that level of patient care. It is so important to have a high standard when working in this field. If you start the Medical Assisting program with high expectations from Day One, by the time you’ve completed the program it is second nature and it just carries over to the work environment.”
The Gaston College Medical Assisting program gives students the clinical and administrative skills needed to help others as a medical professional. Medical assistants combine their knowledge of the human body and their organizational training to be effective and important members of health response teams, whether in a physician’s office, clinic, or hospital.
The two-year Gaston College Medical Assisting program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Allied Health Education Programs. Graduates of the program receive their Associate of Applied Science degree and qualify to take the AAMA certification examination to become a Certified Medical Assistant. For more information on the Gaston College Medical Assisting program, call 704-922-2274.

Community VFD safety tips

(January 28, 2021 Issue)

Community VFD in North Belmont is offering these safety tips for the cold weather and new year

Keep Pets Indoors When Possible
If it’s too cold for you, it’s probably too cold for your pets. Don’t keep your pets outdoors for long periods of time during very cold weather. Short-coated dogs may need a coat or sweater during walks.

Provide Outdoor Shelter for Your Pets
If you have outdoor dogs, make sure they have a dry, draft-free doghouse that:
Is large enough for pets to sit and lie down in, but small enough to retain their body heat.
Has a floor that is elevated a few inches off the ground and is covered with cedar shavings or straw.
Has an entrance that faces away from heavy winds and is covered with a flap of heavy waterproof fabric or heavy plastic.

Home Safety Tips
The first step is continuing to be diligent about fire safety in your home by testing the batteries (and replacing if needed) on smoke and carbon monoxide alarms.
Keep pets and children away from lit candles and fireplaces. Also, keep matches and lighters in a locked cabinet out of reach of children.
Do not leave food unattended in the kitchen when you are cooking, this is especially true when frying and boiling items on the stovetop. Keep children and pets away from cooking surfaces and hot pans and dishes.

Congratulations GEMS


YMCA invites you to join free RESET challenge

(January 28, 2021 Issue)

Sick and tired of feeling sick and tired in these COVID-19 times? The Gaston County Family YMCA invites all in the community to participate in a free six-week Reset challenge designed to help transform spirit, mind and body.
“Now, more than ever before we need to recharge and refocus,” said Gaston County Family YMCA CEO Sharon Padgett. “The COVID-19 pandemic has worn us down. It’s isolated us in so many ways. This challenge provides an opportunity to get active and healthier by yourself or as a family.”
Beginning in January 2021, you can opt-in to the free challenge by texting RESET to 844.473.9622​. Follow the prompts to sign-up for the challenge that begins February 1. You will receive three prompts via text/email each week filled with motivation, challenges, workouts and more. Participating in the Reset challenge will also let you attend the Y for each Wednesday during the challenge to enjoy swimming, working out and a variety of classes. It also gives you access to our Virtual Y through March 2021 to workout wherever you are. These classes are available via Facebook including Zumba, yoga, HIIT and many more. In addition the first 500 registered participants to stop into the Y can pick up a complimentary exercise band.
Throughout the challenge wellness team will invite members and participants to a variety of activities, like pop-up classes and nature walks. Visit online at and learn more about the Nationwide Reset challenge and all of the free community activities.

Diabetes workshop planned

Do you or a family member have pre-diabetes, diabetes, or at risk for diabetes?  If so, then don’t miss this opportunity to learn how to better take control of your diabetes. NC Cooperative Extension and Gaston County Adult Services are offering the virtual workshop “Living Healthy at Home with Diabetes” a free online self-management program which begins February 2021.
Living Healthy at Home with Diabetes is an evidence-based, diabetes self-management program originally developed at Stanford University. The program is designed for anyone with diabetes, pre-diabetes, or at risk for diabetes. Participants will learn how to prevent low blood sugar; prevent and delay complications of diabetes; eat well; use medications effectively; manage pain, fatigue and depression; solve problems and set goals. The program is valued at more than $800 and there is no cost to participants.
The program consists of six weekly online sessions scheduled for Tuesdays, February 2nd through March 9th from 9:30am – 12:00pm. All sessions will be held online so participants are able to remain safely at home. There is no cost to attend, but group size is limited to 12 participants with priority given to Gaston County residents.
A copy of “Living a Healthy Life with Chronic Conditions” workbook and a relaxation CD will be provided to all participants. Pre-registration is required by contacting Linda Minges - 704.922.2127 or by January 28, 2021. This program is sponsored by Centralina Area Agency on Aging.


New art exhibit at
Gaston County Museum

(January 28, 2021 Issue)

The Gaston County Museum, 131 W. Main St., Dallas, presents a new exhibit by Bob Matthews- Everything Is A Nail- January 19 – May 15, 2021 in the Bullpen Gallery/GCM Website.
Often combining religious icons with political commentary, Rob Matthews’ work can be described as curiously disorienting. According to Matthews, who was born in North Carolina and currently resides in Nashville, “Themes of upheaval, power, displacement and the unspoken message of ‘home’ anchor the work. Some subjects of the paintings are heroes. Other subjects are villains. The remaining that are depicted are caught in the middle. All of the work is made to spend time considering events and people that get lost in the shuffle of the ever-changing news cycle.”  The exhibit features 11 paintings over canvas on wood panels.
Congratulations to Forestview High School athletic trainer Jarrett Friday. He was selected to serve as an athletic trainer for the 2021 Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas football game. Gaston Schools photo

Gaston County Schools Good News

(January 21, 2021 Issue)

The Gaston County Board of Education received the following “good news” about Gaston County Schools for the month of December 2020:
The five finalists for Gaston County Schools Teacher of the Year 2021-2022 are Savanna Abernathy, Bessemer City Central Elementary; Natalie Childers, Gardner Park Elementary; Bethany Hartley, Hunter Huss High School; Casey Miller, Stanley Middle School; and Staci Nezezon, Pinewood Elementary.  The winner will be announced this spring during the annual Evening of Excellence program.
Gaston County Schools is first in the state for the number of Career and Technical Education (CTE) credentials earned by students and first in the state for the percentage of students earning more than one credential in a particular CTE area.  It is the only time since the state began tallying credential performance data in 2010-2011 that the same school district has earned top rankings in both categories in the same year.  Additionally, four high schools rank in the top 15 statewide for the number of credentials earned by students during the 2019-2020 year.  Hunter Huss High School is ranked second in the state with 2,976 credentials.  Ashbrook High School ranks fifth with 2,297 credentials, Forestview High School ranks 13th with 1,721 credentials, and Stuart W. Cramer High School ranks 14th with 1,706 credentials.
Gaston County Schools had four schools and two central level departments that had 100 percent participation in the United Way fundraising campaign.  In addition, 10 schools had an increase of more than 50 percent in giving when compared to last year.  For the 2020-2021 year, employees from our schools and central level departments contributed more than $93,000 to the United Way to help fund important programs in Gaston County.
Teachers in Gaston County Schools received grants totaling $20,000 through the Ron L. Ensley grants program that is sponsored by the Gaston County Education Foundation. This year, 21 grants were presented to teachers to support creative classroom activities at schools across the county.
Gaston County Schools had eight teachers who renewed their National Board Certification this year.  They are Shara Beatty, Costner Elementary; Kelly Carpenter, Mount Holly Middle; Kelly Pacetti, Webb Street School; Robin Melton, Pleasant Ridge Elementary; Bobbi Neely, McAdenville Elementary; Cheryl Parker, Springfield Elementary; Cara Pohlman, Mount Holly Middle; and Ingrid Rockhead, Gaston Virtual Academy.
The following students were chosen as the “Do the Right Thing” award winners for November: Grace Kucera, W.A. Bess Elementary; Regan Long, Belmont Middle; and Cali Barnette, Hunter Huss High School.
The Cherryville High School athletics department earned Level One status in the National Federation of State High School Associations Honor Roll.  The national recognition program is designed to promote professional development for high school coaches who have an opportunity to complete online education courses through the NFHS Learning Center.  Cherryville High School is the only school in Gaston County to earn the certification and one of only 33 schools in North Carolina.  Scott Harrill is the school’s athletic director.
Pisgah ARP Church in Gastonia contributed a total of $52,350 in grants to classroom teachers, art teachers, and media specialists in Gaston County Schools as part of the Kenley Estate Scholarship Fund.
The Community Foundation of Gaston County’s Next Generation Fund and the Gaston County Education Foundation donated $6,000 to Gaston County Schools for personal protective equipment (PPE) and supplies.
The Gaston Association of Realtors presented $2,000 to Gaston County Schools for the purchase of personal protective equipment (PPE).
The Gastonia Evening Rotary Club conducted a coat drive for Gaston County Schools.  Club representatives Ashley Lorance and Jackie Gonzalez presented 61 coats to the school district for distribution to students in need.
The Stuart W. Cramer High School boys cross country team won the Big South 3A championship.  In addition, Nick Willer, Stuart W. Cramer; Austin Brotemarkle,  Forestview; Zack Willer, Stuart W. Cramer; Oussama Ajala, Forestview; Jacob Wootton, Stuart W. Cramer; Michael Gates, Ashbrook; and Luke Auten, Stuart W. Cramer, earned all-conference honors.
The Forestview High School girls cross country team won the Big South 3A championship. In addition, Emma Hughlette, Forestview; Alexander Floder, Forestview; Summer Bahr, Stuart W. Cramer; Keaton Schneider, Stuart W. Cramer; and Sarah Shiflet, Forestview, earned all-conference honors.
South Point High School cross country runners Emmanuel Paddyfote and Cooper Ray and East Gaston High School runner Jacob Mullen earned Southwestern 2A all-conference honors.
W.B. Beam Intermediate fourth grade students had the opportunity to learn about amateur radio from principal Todd Dellinger and counselor Mark Reep.  In addition, Oak Grove Baptist Church of Cherryville surprised the staff with a delicious lunch.
The Belmont Central Elementary cafeteria staff earned a 100 percent sanitation rating. In addition, the String Bean restaurant in Belmont donated 65 boxed lunches for the staff to enjoy.
W.A. Bess Elementary was selected as an alternate by the N.C. Department of Instruction for nomination to the 2020 National Blue Ribbon Schools Program.
W.A. Bess Elementary art students created a 3D mini museum.  The students chose images for display that were provided by the teacher, and they were asked to draw at least one work of art that was their own.  On their remote days at home, the students were given supplies to make a pedestal box and sculpture using model magic clay. Laura Farmer is the school’s art teacher.
W.A. Bess Elementary students Jacie Buchanan, Ella Wortman, and Holly Russell were the top winners in a school fundraiser.  For being the top winners, each student got to throw a pie in principal Laura Dixon’s face.
Bessemer City Central Elementary held a drive-thru reading night for students and their parents.
Carr Elementary received 241 bottles of hand sanitizer and 41 bottles of antibacterial soap from the Walmart store in Dallas.
Carr Elementary teacher Kaitlin Petruska is a nominee for the UNC-Charlotte Page and Ed Kizer Beginning Teacher Award.
Chapel Grove Baptist Church provided Thanksgiving Day meals for families at Chapel Grove Elementary School.
Catawba Heights Elementary teacher Danna Ritchie is the recipient of a Bright Ideas Education Grant presented by Rutherford Electric.
Forestview High School athletic trainer Jarrett Friday was selected to serve as an athletic trainer for the 2021 Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas football game.
W.C. Friday Middle School collected 2,520 cans of food for charities in Dallas.  In addition, the school’s leadership classes made Christmas cards that were sent to military personnel serving overseas and to residents at Stanley Total Living Center.
Gaston Early College High School student Najira Davis was selected as a Lenoir-Rhyne University Scholar and received a scholarship valued at $98,000 over four years, and Autumn Kirby received a Lenoir-Rhyne Scholars scholarship valued at $66,000.
The Gaston Early College High School Beta Club partnered with Gaston College’s Dallas and Lincoln campuses to conduct a canned food drive.  The students collected 1,611 cans.  All donations were given to the Crisis Assistance Ministry in Gastonia or the college’s food pantry on the Dallas campus.
Gaston Early College High School held a Winter Warmth Drive, and more than 200 coats, hats, gloves, and scarves were donated by students and staff.  The items were donated to “scarf bombing” efforts in Gaston County through the “Chase the Chill Gaston” program.
The Grier Middle School Exceptional Children Department sponsored a canned food drive and collected more than 700 cans to support students and families.
Grier Middle School students, teachers, and staff packed 38 shoeboxes for the Operation Christmas Child program that is sponsored by Samaritan’s Purse.
Food Lion donated 12 frozen turkeys to Grier Middle School for its inaugural Turkey Bowl competition.
Gaston County Virtual Academy teachers Summer Cheek and Katelin Greer collected 1,500 books for distribution to students.
Holbrook Middle School families, staff, and the community contributed food, gifts, and other items to ensure that 36 students are able to enjoy the holiday season.
Hunter Huss High School was featured on the North Carolina Public Schools Facebook page with students performing two dance and percussion ensembles.  Teachers Julie Ballard and Heaven Watson-Weary organized the social media performances.
Hunter Huss High School student-athlete Dontavius Nash signed a letter of intent to play football at UNC-Chapel Hill.  In addition, student-athlete Nick Sharpe signed a national letter of intent to play football at Wake Forest University.
Hunter Huss High School teacher Michelle Ellis was appointed to serve on the Gaston County Quality of Natural Resources Committee.
Hunter Huss High School students Jessica Clark and Cody Wiper earned the State Leader Award during the SkillsUSA Virtual Fall Leadership Development Seminar.
McAdenville Elementary School held a special “lunch and share” event.  Parents parked their car in the school’s parking lot at lunchtime, and students joined their parents in the car to share about what they have learned about being a good reader.
McAdenville Elementary students made holiday ornaments for senior citizens in the community.
McAdenville Elementary was unable to participate in the annual ChristmasTown USA tree lighting ceremony or yule log parade this year.  However, music teacher Dalia Razo choreographed holiday dances for each class to perform.  She recorded the performances and shared them on the school’s Facebook page for the community to enjoy.
McAdenville Wesleyan Church and the Cramer Mountain Investment Club provided Christmas gifts for students at McAdenville Elementary.
Mount Holly Middle School football coach Otis Forsythe’s 12:1-2 Transform Cycling group worked with the school to identify families in need.  Group members provided the families with a turkey for Thanksgiving.
Mount Holly Middle School received $1,856 in donations for the school’s We Care Fund.  The school partnered with Shoe Carnival and purchased 35 $50 gift cards for students in need.  In addition, Shoe Carnival offered to give an additional 30 percent off for the families with the specially-marked gift cards.
Page Primary School collected 745 canned goods and food items for the Belmont Community Organization. In addition, the staff received a delicious lunch from Taxco Mexican Grill.
The Pleasant Ridge Elementary Junior Beta Club made 15 “I Care” packages for the Support our Troops Foundation.  One box was marked for Pleasant Ridge teacher and Gaston County Schools New Teacher of the Year Trevor Dunlap, who is currently training to be a National Guardsman.  The boxes included notes of appreciation from students, hygiene items, canned goods, snacks, and esocks.
Daimler sponsored Thanksgiving Day meals for more than a dozen families at Pinewood Elementary. In addition, Food Lion contributed a voucher for a free turkey.
Robinson Elementary art teacher Fonda Cooper received a $2,500 grant from Pisgah ARP Church.  In addition, music teacher Jonathan Panther received a $500 grant.
Christ Worship Center provided Sadler Elementary students with a bag filled with presents such as hats, gloves, mugs, and candy.
South Point High School was awarded the Wells Fargo Cup for the Southwestern 2A Conference.  The award recognizes the school’s excellence in athletics for 2019-2020.
South Point High School senior Grace Nehring signed a national letter of intent to play lacrosse at Rhodes College.  In addition, senior Trinity Knauf signed a national letter of intent to play soccer at Johnson and Wales University.
Cherryville High School senior Wyatt Wilson hosted several virtual events for Tryon Elementary students. Wyatt dressed as an elf and welcomed students to school.
Tryon Elementary received a $1,000 donation from the Tryon High School Class of 1966.  Donors included Barbara Farnsworth, Beth Rudisill, Linda Hosier, Peggy McNair, Jewell Vincent, Ann Criswell, Linda Lovelace, and Elaine Robinson.
Tryon Elementary students received two new books and a pair of socks through a donation from retired Bessemer City High School teacher Diane Leazer.
Webb Street School collected more than 300 pairs of socks for adults and children.  The school donated the socks to the Catherine Mabry Cloninger Center in Gastonia.
Webb Street School received a donation of $2,900 for landscaping supplies from Lowe’s Home Improvement. Additionally, representatives from Lowe’s Home Improvement, Covenant Case Management, and Webb Street School volunteered more than 180 hours toward outdoor beautification projects at the school.

First Baptist Mt. Holly pipe organ installation...

(January 21, 2021 Issue)

The new pipe organ at First Baptist Mt. Holly arrived just before Christmas and is is nearly ready for action. Many people have had a hand in the design and building of this organ and First Baptist is grateful to all of them. Schantz Organ Company of Orrville, Ohio is the firm that created and installed the organ. Founded in 1873, Schantz Organ Company is North America’s oldest and largest pipe organ builder still under the control of the founding family.
Taylor Vancil photos


Gaston County prepares to expand COVID vaccination efforts

(January 21, 2021 Issue)

Gaston County is  preparing for the change in COVID vaccination requirements rolled out last Thursday by the state.
The state has added in the 65-to-74-year-old population as part of what is now being referred to as Group 2. Gaston County is continuing to register individuals both through its hotline, 704-866-3170, and at Thousands of Gaston County residents have already registered online since that option was launched last Thursday.
County employees will continue to staff the hotline during the week starting at 8 a.m. and will be available each day until 5 p.m. It has pulled employees from departments across the county and is getting additional assistance from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services to help manage the historically high call volume.
In response, the County will soon be adding vaccination days on Wednesdays in addition to Fridays as it will soon not only be providing the first shot to hundreds of residents at a time, but also the second round of vaccine to complete the process. The county also opened up another 2,400 vaccination appointments for the next three weeks.
The County is also working closely with its partners at CaroMont Health and Kintegra Health to maximize the opportunities to get members of the community vaccinated.
Those in the 65-74 age range should expect it may take a few weeks to get to their turn in line as the County has booked out appointments with remaining healthcare workers (Group 1) and the 75-and-over population that have pre-registered for appointments.
Vaccination clinics continue to be by appointment only, to manage the flow of traffic and allow for as smooth a process as possible.
Residents are encouraged to sign up for COVID-19 information email alerts at
Solomon Eichner

Sol Eichner, concert pianist, to perform on Arts at the Abbey

(January 21, 2021 Issue)

Arts at the Abbey enters 2021 with a program featuring romantic piano music and jazz-influenced compositions. Entitled a “Rachmaninoff Sandwich”, the program has four of Rachmaninoff’s magnificent preludes interspersed with music by Gershwin, Tchaikovsky, Debussy, and the Russian contemporary composer Kapustin. There are familiar works as well as new ones.
The concert is Monday January 25, 2021 at 8:00 PM in the Abbey Basilica, Belmont Abbey, Belmont NC. Admission is free. A limited live audience will be admitted. Masks and social distancing are required. Donations are welcomed.  The concert will also be live streamed -
To reserve a seat, call 704-461-6012 or email
Solomon Eichner debuted at Carnegie Hall in 2016 after winning the “Golden Key Debut” International Competition in New York City. He has performed in England, Italy, Germany, Austria, Poland and throughout the U.S. Recent performances include the Western Piedmont Symphony and next year (after Covid) he will perform Beethoven with the Winston-Salem Symphony.
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 Gaston Community Foundations, The Monks of Belmont Abbey and other private donors.
The Abbey Basilica, Belmont Abbey College just off of Exit 26 on I-85.For more information: Karen Hite Jacob. 704-461-6012, or

Cathy Mabry Cloninger Center News

(January 14, 2021 Issue)

The Cathy Mabry Cloninger Center, a domestic violence shelter, 330 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Blvd.,  has the following news briefs.
Shelter Meals
We need your help! We have many available meal dates available over the next couple of months. These meals are so important as they help our families feel less isolated in the shelter. Preparing or purchasing a meal for the shelter helps these families feel more supported on their journey to an abuse-free life. If you or your organization are interested in providing a meal, please contact
Counseling Services
Did you know? The shelter offers free and confidential counseling services to ALL survivors of domestic violence. If you are interested in learning more about these services, please contact Emma Calvert at
Hope United Survivor Network
Hope United Survivor Network is Gaston County’s very own family justice center. They connect ALL survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, child abuse, elder abuse and human trafficking to service providers in our community. Check out their Facebook page for more information!
Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month
February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month. This year we are encouraging the community to learn more about how to protect our children and teach them about healthy relationships. Statistics show that girls between the ages of 16 and 19 experience the highest rates of intimate partner violence, almost triple the national average. We are offering Zoom presentations to parents, teachers, family members and students that will provide information about how to spot the warning signs and resources available to those who are experiencing abuse. For more information about presentations and resources, please contact Mollie Weakland at

Lingerfeldt Elementary School's Teacher Project

(January 14, 2021 Issue)

Lingerfeldt Elementary School’s Teacher Project has been recognizing teachers for their positive contributions to the school. Here are some recent winners.

Gaston Schools photos

Pinewood Elementary School’s Teacher Assistant of the Year, Mrs. Giana McGuire

Congratulations to Pinewood Elementary School’s Teacher Assistant of the Year

(January 14, 2021 Issue)

Congratulations to Pinewood Elementary School’s Teacher Assistant of the Year, Mrs. Giana McGuire. Thank you for serving the exceptional children’s department and  school with positivity and professionalism. Pinewood is thankful for all that she does.
Gaston Schools photos
Pinewood Elementary School’s New Teacher of the Year, Ms. Lexi Crosby

Congratulations to Pinewood Elementary School’s  New Teacher of the Year,

(January 14, 2021 Issue)

Congratulations to Pinewood Elementary School’s  New Teacher of the Year, Ms. Lexi Crosby. This award goes to a faculty member in their first three years of teaching. Ms. Crosby is passionate, engaging, and loved by everyone at our school. She has a natural teaching ability that is beyond her years.

2021 Gaston Together MLK Unity Awards is January 18th

(January 14, 2021 Issue)

The Gaston Clergy & Citizens Coalition (GC3), an initiative of Gaston Together, will present the 2021 Gaston County MLK Unity Awards to Gastonia Police Chief Travis Brittain, Rev. Dr. Rodney Freeman and Shaaron Miller Funderburk on Monday, January 18th at 10:30 am.  Due to the Covid restrictions for North Carolina, the event this year will be livestreamed through Facebook: Mt. Zion Restoration Church.  
The Gaston County MLK Unity Award was established in 2004 by GC3.  The award recognizes current or former Gaston County citizens who have performed exemplary community service to help build bridges of unity across lines of class, race, gender, faith and/or municipalities within our county.  Names of the honorees are engraved on the MLK Monument located at the MLK Plaza in Gastonia.   Some of the past winners include:  Senator Marshall Rauch, the late N. A. Smith, Mrs. Lucy Penegar and Danny Jackson.  Last year’s honorees were Dr. Mark E. Epstein, Walker E. Reid III and John P. Weisenhorn.
Chief Brittain and Rev. Freeman are being honored together due to their work and partnership to promote, facilitate and help to spread community awareness of the GC3/Law Enforcement Covenant originally signed in March 2016.  Both men have done exemplary work individually in building bridges of unity throughout their careers; however, the groundwork these two have laid together while putting the tenets of the covenant into practice has truly made a tremendous positive impact in our community.  They have built a relationship between each other and their respective networks in the law enforcement and African/American communities that kept the worst from happening here in the aftermath of George Floyd and other killings as well as the Confederate Monument protests.  To quote one recommendation for Chief Brittain and Rev. Freeman, “GC3 was entirely prescient in the need (for the covenant).  These two individuals embraced, facilitated, and created out of whole cloth a movement that spared Gastonia the worst that could and might have happened…and lays the foundation for it to continue far into the future, continuing a proud Gastonia tradition of proactively addressing race issues (in the spirit of the Human Relations Commission in the early 1960’s).   I don’t think there can be any more deserving recipients of a Unity Award named after Dr. King.”
Chief Brittain was born and raised in Gastonia and graduated from Ashbrook High School. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice from Gardner Webb University and a master’s degree in Justice Administration from Methodist University. He is a 2013 graduate of the FBI National Academy’s 254th Session and received the Advanced Law Enforcement Certificate from the State of North Carolina.  Chief Brittain has served the Gastonia Police Department for 25 years, the last six of those in executive management. He assumed his new duties as Chief on October 1, 2020.
Brittain serves on the boards of several community organizations, including the Executive Board of the Gaston Clergy & Citizens Coalition (GC3) and Habitat for Humanity, where he co-planned initiatives to build homes in areas impacted by crime. He is also a member of the Rotary Club of East Gastonia.
Dr. Rodney Freeman is a native of York, South Carolina.  He has an Associate of Arts degree in Biblical Studies from Jacksonville Theological Seminary, a Bachelor of Arts degree in Pastoral Studies from Queen City Bible College, a Masters of Divinity Degree from Gardner Webb University  and a Doctorate of Ministry Degree from Ashland Theological Seminary.  Rev. Freeman has been the Pastor of Mt. Zion Restoration Church in Gastonia since 2000.  He is the first African American appointed President of the York Rotary Club, York, SC and is the founder and CEO of Save Our Children Youth Academy as well as Bountiful Blessings Food Pantry both of which are in Gastonia.
Shaaron Funderburk is well known in Gaston County for her work with the Off the Streets Program, Inc., a program designed to assist women in getting off the streets and becoming free from street life, drugs, and alcohol. Tough love and strong leadership by Mrs. Funderburk, CEO and founder, have resulted in rehabilitation with many of these women re-entering the work force and life as capable, responsible, and constructive members of society.  Shaaron knows first-hand what it is like to wake up and not know what has happened in your life for a period of time because you were “cracked” out of your mind and your best friend is a crack pipe. Shaaron took a good look at herself and realized that she had hit bottom, she said, “This is it. I have had enough, and I cannot go on living this way.”  Not only did she change, now she helps others to change.  Over the past 17 years, Shaaron has helped rehabilitate more than 1,000 women with a 90 percent success rate. She attributes this to knowing what it is like to be in their shoes which helps her motivate them to turn their lives around.  Mrs. Funderburk is a Hunter Huss graduate and received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Johnson C. Smith University.
The presentation of the awards will be part of an annual event designed by the GC3 to recognize the dream of Dr. King for all.  It is a dream very much alive in Gaston County.  Please join the celebration as we honor those in our midst who have worked to build bridges of unity in our county.
The GC3 is a county-wide, non-denominational ministerial association formed in the late 1990’s by Gaston Together.  The GC3 meets on the second Thursday of each month at 9:00am.  Due to Covid restrictions, meetings are currently conducted by virtual format.  For more information, please call Gaston Together (704-867-9869.)

Gaston Day School student publication is finalist for prestigious award

(January 7, 2021 Issue)

Congratulations to the Gaston Day School 2019-2020 Blutopia staff. The Columbia Scholastic Press Association (CSPA) has honored the 2020 issue of Blutopia as a finalist for their Crown Award. Crown Awards are the highest recognition given by the CSPA to a student print or digital medium for overall excellence.
A total of 849 digital, newspapers, magazines and yearbooks published during the 2019-2020 academic year were eligible for judging in the 2021 Crown Awards Program. Blutopia is in the high school print literary magazine category and is one of only two magazines in North Carolina selected. Finalists will be revealed as either Gold or Silver Crowns in March 2021.
Lily McGrath’ 20 was also awarded a Gold Circle Certificate of Merit for her print spread “Away”, featuring poetry by Matilda Ziegler’ 23 and art by David Efird’ 20.
Blutopia is Gaston Day School’s student published literary and arts magazine.
Founded in 1925, the Columbia Scholastic Press Association unites student editors and faculty advisers working with them who produce student newspapers, magazines, yearbooks and online media. The Association is owned and operated by Columbia University.

South Point High awarded Wells Fargo Cup

(January 7, 2021 Issue)

By Charlotte Sautner

South Point High School has been awarded the Well Fargo Cup for the Southwestern 2A Conference for 2019-2020.  This is the second time in three years that South Point has been awarded this honor.  As you know our Spring seasons were cut short because of COVID-19, but South Point was leading the conference in points coming out of the Winter sports season.
South Point Athletic Director, Kent Hyde, said “This is a total team effort- our athletes, our coaches, our faculty, our support staff, our administrators, and our community.  Thank you for all that you do for South Point High School and our community. Go Big Red!!”
The Wells Fargo Cup represents overall sports excellence among high schools in North Carolina.  The award goes to the schools which have the best overall interscholastic sports programs in each athletic conference.  The program is sponsored by the North Carolina High School Athletic Association and one of its corporate sponsors, Wells Fargo.
Sports teams playing during the fall and winter of 2019-2020 were Men’s and Women’s Cross Country, Football, Men’s Soccer, Women’s Tennis, Women’s Volleyball, Men’s and Women’s Basketball, Men’s and Women’s Swimming, and Wrestling.  South Point won championships in Men’s Cross Country, Women’s Tennis, and Men’s and Women’s Swimming.

Students give generously...

(January 7, 2021 Issue)

Mrs. Miller’s sweet class at Gaston Christian School raised $240.44 for the Charlotte Rescue Mission. This money provided over 100 meals for those in need. What a blessing it was to see a spirit of generosity in that classroom.

Teacher of the Year finalists announced

(January 7, 2021 Issue)

Congratulations to the following educators who were chosen as finalists for Gaston County Teacher of the Year, 2021-2022. Savanna Abernathy, Bessemer City Central Elementary; Natalie Childers, Gardner Park Elementary; Bethany Hartley, Hunter Huss High School; Casey Miller, Stanley Middle School; Staci Nezezon, Pinewood Elementary.   Gaston Schools photos
Allison Gozalkowski

Congratulations Allison!

(January 7, 2021 Issue)

Congratulations to Grier Middle School sixth-grader Allison Gozalkowski. She won this great new bike in the raffle held at the school.
Mr. Prieto

Holbrook Middle School’s Teacher of the Year 2020-2021

(January 7, 2021 Issue)

Congratulations to Mr. Prieto for being voted as Holbrook Middle School’s Teacher of the Year 2020-2021. Way to go Mr. Prieto.
Mrs. Jenny Lawrence pictured with her husband,Alex and son William.

Ida Rankin Elementary’s 2020-21 Teacher Assistant of the Year

(January 7, 2021 Issue)

Congratulations to Mt. Holly Ida Rankin Elementary’s 2020-21 Teacher Assistant of the Year, Mrs. Jenny Lawrence. Thanks to her husband, Alex and son, William for helping the school celebrate and honor her.
Mrs. Marlowe

Catawba Heights Elementary School’s  Teacher Assistant of the Year

(January 7, 2021 Issue)

Congratulations to Catawba Heights Elementary School’s  Teacher Assistant of the Year Mrs. Marlowe. She is always willing to step in and help out wherever she’s needed, Mrs. Marlowe is an integral part of the school and is loved by everyone.

Carr Elementary School “Ugly Mask” contest winners

(January 7, 2021 Issue)

Carr Elementary School in Dallas held a holiday “Ugly Mask” contest. These teachers went all out to craft their most imaginative masks and won some great prizes for their efforts.

Gaston County Public Health
announces pre-registration details for Covid-19 vaccination clinics

(January 7, 2021 Issue)

Gaston County’s Public Health Department released additional details and resources for the public in regards to its upcoming COVID-19 vaccination clinic, scheduled for this Friday, Jan. 8, at the Gastonia Farmer’s Market.
Friday’s clinic is open to residents 75 years or older, as part of category 1B. It is also open to any individual in group 1A that has not received yet received a vaccine. Pre-registration is required so the county can have the correct amount of vaccine available to meet the needs of those attending the clinic. 1A includes frontline health care workers and first responders who have direct contact with individuals who are potentially COVID-positive, as well as long-term care facility residents and staff.
The County has set up a hotline for residents to call to begin the pre-registration process for the vaccination clinic. That number is 704-866-3170. County employees will staff the hotline beginning Tuesday morning at 8 a.m. and will be available each day until 5 p.m.
If all operators are busy, residents can leave a voicemail, and a county staffer will return their call to begin the registration process.
Gaston County plans to continue hosting vaccination clinics each Friday at the Gastonia Farmer’s Market as doses are made available. All future dates will be listed at as they are confirmed.
Gaston County’s Health Department worked with GEMS and its Office of Emergency Management and Fire Services in identifying the Gastonia Farmer’s Market as an ideal location to host the vaccine clinics, as it is on local bus routes, is centrally located in the county and provides protection from the elements for workers who will be servicing the drive-thru clinic.
Frontline essential workers are also a part of the 1B distribution, but are slated to be vaccinated as part of group 2, after residents who are 75 years and older, as there is not enough vaccine currently available to handle this entire group at once. The CDC defines frontline essential workers as first responders (e.g., firefighters and police officers), corrections officers, food and agricultural workers, U.S. Postal Service workers, manufacturing workers, grocery store workers, public transit workers, and those who work in the education sector (teachers and support staff members) as well as child care workers.
Those frontline essential workers who are 50 and over will be offered the vaccine first, followed by those frontline workers of any age as part of group 3 in the 1B classification. will contain updates on where Gaston County stands on the vaccination group schedule.
Montcross Chamber photo

Fish Geeks open in Belmont

(January 7, 2021 Issue)

Congratulations to Fish Geeks The Local Fish Store, 26 N. Main St., on its recent grand opening weekend in downtown Belmont. The Montcross Area Chamber, Mayor Charlie Martin,City Council Members Jim Hefferan and Marc Seelinger and the community attended and enjoyed the event.

Dr. Jill Payne, principal of Hawks Nest STEAM Academy, shows off the North Carolina STEM School of Distinction award.

Hawks Nest earns N.C. STEM School of Distinction title

Hawks Nest STEAM Academy is recognized across Gaston County for its focus on science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics.  Now, Hawks Nest has gained attention at the state level for earning the North Carolina STEM School of Distinction title. 
The Department of Public Instruction and State Board of Education began recognizing schools in 2014 for outstanding efforts in STEM education.  Hawks Nest is one of only 16 schools statewide to earn the STEM model school designation, and it is the only model school winner for 2020.
The award recognizes Hawks Nest for its concentrated emphasis on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics across the curriculum, according to Dr. Jill Payne, principal.
Hawks Nest STEAM Academy opened in August 2016 as the only elementary magnet school in Gaston County with a focus on STEAM.  Becoming a model school was on the radar from the beginning. 
“We started the process four years ago by looking at the STEM rubric and using the information to create the foundation for our school,” she said, adding that it takes most schools a number of years to prepare for the application process.  “It’s been a group effort since we started the process.  Our staff chartered our course from day one.  They sat down and created a plan, and we have worked together to make it happen.”
STEM Schools of Distinction are recognized by the Department of Public Instruction for exemplifying outstanding leadership and challenging students to think creatively.  With a focus on teamwork, teachers and staff help students develop the ability to reason and embrace essential STEM attributes they need to be successful in today’s society.
“One of our main goals is to make sure our school is a place where students thrive.  They’re growing academically because of our efforts to take a whole-school approach to the STEM curriculum and also integrating the arts,” she said.  
Of the schools that applied, Hawks Nest was selected as one of the top 36, which led to a follow-up visit to further explore the school’s qualifications.  The follow-up was done virtually because of the coronavirus pandemic.  While it usually takes 24 hours to find out the results, Hawks Nest received confirmation only three hours after its presentation.
“It’s been very exciting,” Payne said of the process.  “There are so many good things going on here at Hawks Nest, and I’m so proud of the work that is being done.”
Payne says even more important than the recognition is seeing her students grow in their love for learning.
“To watch our students accomplish the things they can do, it is amazing,” she said. “To see them connect with something they love and something they might want to do when they’re older, that has been very powerful to experience.”
Karen Duncan

IT specialist develops Gaston College course that receives Quality Matters Certification

(December 31, 2020 Issue)

The Professional Development course at Gaston College has received certification from Quality Matters, the global organization that leads quality assurance in online and innovative digital teaching and learning environments. The course teaches realistic career-building skills and motivates students toward improving both personal and professional performance. The QM Certification Mark is the internationally recognized symbol of online and blended course design quality.
 Professional Development is included in the curriculum for the Office Systems Technology program at Gaston College and is an elective for other programs, such as Accounting, Business Administration, Criminal Justice, and Paralegal Technology. It is the first course that Gaston College has submitted for Quality Matters Certification and it earned the certification after a rigorous review process which provided validation of its quality, learner-focused design.
 Karen Duncan, Instructional Technology Specialist and Accessibility Liaison for all eLearning content, developed the course. To be certified, a course must meet the 42 Standards and 23 Essential Standards in the Quality Matters Higher Education Rubric. A score of 85 percent is required for certification, but the Professional Development course scored 100 percent. Prior to submitting the course for certification, Duncan completed several professional development programs through Quality Matters to learn what would be required for a course to meet the Standards. Those courses included Quality Matters Coordinator Training, Design That Welcomes Your Learners, Improving Your Online Course, Apply the Quality Matters Rubric, and Designing Your Online Course. She also took their Peer Reviewer Certification course so that she can participate in the process to review courses that others may submit to QM for certification.
 Duncan has worked at Gaston College since 1999 and has served as faculty and department chair of Office Systems Technology and Business Administration. She earned her master’s in Educational Media and Instructional Technology from Appalachian State University and holds certificates in Information Accessibility Design and Policy from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and in Advanced Technologies in Distance Education from the University of West Georgia.
 Duncan is responsible for the effective integration of technology into the online instructional areas of Gaston College, including both curriculum and continuing education. In that capacity, she fosters effective teaching and learning in the areas of distance learning and instructional technology, recommends new instructional delivery systems and hardware and software applications, and identifies the training needs and provide appropriate development opportunities for faculty in the application of technology in instruction, among other responsibilities. She also teaches Office Technology Systems curriculum courses to Gaston College students.

Takasha Morrow -   Carr Elementary 

Carr Elementary fourth grade teacher Takasha Morrow was the recipient of 100 books through the  Charlotte Hornets “Pick and Read” literacy program. The program features an author reading and discussing his or her book with students in a virtual setting. Mrs. Morrow was selected as the October winner from over 50 teachers who participated in the webinar.

Board of Education elects chairman and vice chairman

The Gaston County Board of Education conducted its organizational meeting on Monday, December 7 to select a chairman and vice chairman to serve for the next two years.
At-large member Jeff Ramsey was elected by the Board to serve as chairman, and at-large member Dot Cherry was elected to serve as vice chairman.
The organizational meeting took place following the induction ceremony for elected officials.
During the 9:00 a.m. induction ceremony at the Gaston County Schools Central Office, Dot Guthrie, Robbie Lovelace, Brent Moore, and Jeff Ramsey were sworn in to serve on the Board of Education.  The Honorable David A. Phillips, superior court judge, presided and administered the oath of office.
Guthrie, Moore, and Ramsey were reelected to the Board during the November 3 general election.  Lovelace was elected to the Board for the first time.  They will serve four-year terms.
The first regular meeting for the newly-organized Board of Education is scheduled for Monday, December 21 at 5:30 p.m. at the Gaston County Schools Central Office.  The meeting will air live on Spectrum Channel 21 and the Gaston County Board of Education YouTube channel.

Gaston County Board of Education
Jeff Ramsey, At-Large Member, Chairman
Dot Cherry, At-Large Member, Vice Chairman
Kevin Collier, Riverbend Township
Justin Davis, South Point Township
Lee Dedmon, Gastonia Township
Dot Guthrie, Gastonia Township
Steve Hall, Dallas Township
Robbie Lovelace, Cherryville Township
Brent Moore, Crowders Mountain Township

Holy Angels Luminary Display

Holy Angels, 6600 Wilkinson Blvd., will invite the people being honored or the families of loved ones being memorialized to its first luminary display, Celebrate Joy, Celebrate Life: Share the Light!. These luminaries, angels and signs will be placed throughout the Holy Angels campus. The public is invited on December 20th  6-8pm to drive through campus and listen to the story of Holy Angels along with some Christmas music while experiencing this powerful light exhibit. With other Christmas events being canceled or minimalized this season, this is a chance to make family memories from the safe distance of your own car.      Photos by Shawn Flynn
Jasmine Cox will serve a three-year term as a Director on the advisory board for the Advanced Textiles Products division of Industrial Fabrics Association International. She is a Process Coordinator for Testing and has worked for the Textile Technology Center of Gaston College since 2015.

Gaston College Textile Technology Center employee will serve on textile division advisory board

(December 3, 2020 Issue)

Jasmine Cox, Process Coordinator for Testing at the Gaston College Textile Technology Center in Belmont has been selected to serve a three-year term as a Director on the Advisory Board for the Advanced Textiles Products division of Industrial Fabrics Association International. IFAI is a not-for-profit trade association comprising member companies representing the international specialty fabrics marketplace.
Cox earned her bachelor’s degree in textile technology from NC State in 2013. She was pursuing her master’s degree in engineering management at UNC-Charlotte when, while driving on I-85, she spotted a sign for the Textile Technology Center. She contacted the Center and was invited by Sam Buff, Director of the TTC, to tour the facility. That tour resulted in the offer of an internship. In 2015, Cox joined the Textile Technology Center as an intern working part-time as a testing technician in the Physical Testing laboratory.
Cox was surprised and honored to learn of her appointment to the advisory board. The IFAI is the largest, most comprehensive textile trade association and its ATP division supports the safety/protective, interactive, medical, performance wear/sports, and technical textiles industries. The Textile Technology Center is actively engaged in research and development in those areas.
“As a member of the IFAI Advanced Textiles Products Advisory Board, I hope to continue to make people aware of the various innovations and opportunities that exist within the different divisions of the textile industry,” said Cox. “As an advisory board member, I hope to help grow the IFAI membership and programs and to expand the organization’s visibility.”
Working at the TTC solidified Cox’s interest and passion to continue her career in the textile industry. She will receive her Master of Textiles from Wilson College of Textiles at NC State in December 2020 and obtaining her Ph.D. in Textile Management is on her short-term goal list.
Congratulations to Jesse Birnstihl, English teacher, at Ashbrook High School, for receiving the North Carolina English Teachers Association Outstanding Teacher of the Year award. Birnstihl was nominated by principal Rebecca Wilson for seeing students as individuals and caring about each one despite their social acceptance, family structure, or future plans. “Mr. Birnstihl is one of the most hardworking educators I know. He works tirelessly to prepare interactive lessons that challenge his students and make them better students as well as better citizens. In addition, he is a sponsor for the school’s Slam Poetry Club, which allows students to express themselves through the art of poetry.” Gaston Schools photo

Gaston County Schools Good News - November 2020

(December 3, 2020 Issue)

The following “good news” was presented to the Gaston County Board of Education for the month of November 2020:
Students from H.H. Beam Elementary, Belmont Central Elementary, Belmont Middle, Cramerton Middle, East Gaston High School, North Gaston High School, Pinewood Elementary, Pleasant Ridge Elementary, and Rankin Elementary participated in the Mount Holly Lantern Parade, which was held in a reverse format this year because of the pandemic.  Students displayed their own handmade lanterns alongside other lanterns that complemented the “Our Greatest Show on Earth” theme.
The Cramerton Community Committee provided a total of 1,580 cloth masks to the following schools: Page Primary; McAdenville Elementary; New Hope Elementary; and Belmont Central Elementary.
Dr. Cristi Bostic, executive director of secondary instruction, and Dr. Derrick Jackson, executive director of elementary instruction, completed the Aspiring Superintendents Program, which is sponsored by the North Carolina School Superintendents Association.
The following school cafeterias received a 100 percent sanitation grade: H.H. Beam Elementary, W.B. Beam Intermediate, Belmont Central Elementary, Bessemer City Primary, John Chavis Middle, Cherryville High School, Cherryville Elementary, Kiser Elementary, Lowell Elementary, McAdenville Elementary, Page Primary, Springfield Elementary, and Woodhill Elementary.
Ashbrook High School teacher Jesse Birnstihl was selected as the North Carolina English Teachers Association’s Outstanding English Teacher of the Year.
Ashbrook High School student Devan Gilmore conducted a community service project and collected 25 coats for students at Woodhill Elementary.
The following students were chosen as the “Do the Right Thing” award winners for October: Cain Beheler, Sherwood Elementary; Hector Mendez Hernandez, W.C. Friday Middle; and Ben Hayes, Cherryville High School.
W.B. Beam Intermediate received a $1,000 donation from the Don and Carla Beam Family Foundation to purchase extra medical and health supplies.
Belmont Middle School counselor Dr. Ami Parker, who serves as president of the North Carolina School Counselor Association, was invited to serve as an adviser for the N.C. Department of Public Instruction’s bullying campaign.
The Belmont Middle School staff was treated to a delicious lunch sponsored by Ranucci’s Food Truck, Blake Construction, and Sundrop.
Bessemer City High School teacher Jason Crawford received a $2,000 grant from Pisgah Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church to purchase a software program for his class.
Students at Brookside Elementary and Robinson Elementary had the opportunity to observe and learn about the different parts of a helicopter.  Gaston County police officer Danny Hubbard coordinated the program.
Brookside Elementary received a North Carolina flag from N.C. Representative John Torbett.
Carr Elementary kindergarten teacher Ashley Loftis was selected as a James Patterson and Scholastic Books Club Partnership grant winner.  She received $500 and 10,500 bonus points to purchase STEM items for her classroom.  In addition, fourth grade teacher TaKasha Morrow won 100 books from the Charlotte Hornets’ Pick and Read webinar.
Carr Elementary kindergarten students were able to enjoy a pumpkin patch at school.  The Town of Dallas and the Dallas Police Department donated 100 pumpkins and Walmart in Dallas provided eight large pumpkins for the classrooms.  Dr. Rebekah Duncan, principal, read the book “Pumpkin, Pumpkin” to the students, who were able to pick out their own pumpkin.
Cherryville High School students Landrie Wofford and Ben Hayes worked together to sponsor “Kindness Week” activities.  Students dressed in orange to make a statement about bullying and wore hats as a fundraiser.  Additionally, the students put inspiring messages in various locations around the school, painted a mural, and placed “Spread Kindness Not Germs” banners at the school entrances.
The Stuart W. Cramer High School Stagestruck Players presented “A Cemetery Walk Through Time” at New Hope Presbyterian Church in Gastonia.  Students gave tours through the cemetery and introduced tour participants to people from the past.  The event served as a fundraiser for the school’s theater arts program.
The Stuart W. Cramer High School counseling department participated in New York Life Insurance’s Grief Sensitive Schools Initiative and was awarded a $500 grant for making the school a grief sensitive educational facility.  Additionally, teachers received professional training and resources to help students when they are grieving.
Walmart in Dallas provided W.C. Friday Middle School with funds for the school’s “Leader in Me Seven Habits” pumpkin decorating contest.  Students selected one of the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People as a theme for decorating their classroom’s pumpkin.  The best-decorated pumpkins received prizes and the top class received the school spirit stick.
The Gaston County Virtual Academy held a drive-through event for K-5 students and teachers to pick up t-shirts, books, cupcakes, and other items.
Highland School of Technology senior Ann Russell is this year’s winner of the DAR Good Citizen Essay Contest, which is sponsored by the Major William Chronicle Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution.
Highland School of Technology teachers Jennifer Ackerman, Maddie Boyles, Star Edwards, Jennifer Gallagher, Laura Long, Kenneth Pasour, and Matt Renegar received education grants from Pisgah Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church in Gastonia.
Lingerfeldt Elementary conducted a school beautification day with help from members of First ARP Church in Gastonia.  Volunteers cut down several trees and bushes around the school and put down pine straw.  In addition, Home Depot donated 15 bags of mulch.
The Rankin Elementary PTA purchased a new stage curtain for the school.
Warlick Academy counselor Grant Sparks presented a conference workshop titled “It Takes More than Guidance” for the North Carolina School Counselor Association.  Additionally, Hunter Huss High School counselor Heather Griffin presented a workshop titled “Leaving Guidance Behind: The New Frontier of School Counseling.”


(December 3, 2020 Issue)

Congratulations to Paramedic Cameron Keller, EMT Bridget Wilkinson, and Act. Lieutenant Tia Slone for an outstanding job at successfully resuscitating a patient in traumatic cardiac arrest. Pictured above, these excellent clinicians are holding their Trauma Save challenge coins to honor their achievement. Well done! 

GEMS photos

NC tightens existing mask requirements and enforcement

(December 3, 2020 Issue)

Last week, NC Governor Roy Cooper issued additional COVID-19 safety measures to tighten mask requirements and enforcement as cases continue to rise rapidly in North Carolina and across the country. Executive Order No. 180 went into effect on Wednesday, November 25 and runs through Friday, December 11.
“I have a stark warning for North Carolinians: We are in danger,” Governor Cooper said. “This is a pivotal moment in our fight against the coronavirus. Our actions now will determine the fate of many.”
In addition to extending Phase 3 capacity limits and safety requirements, the Order tightens the existing statewide mask requirement – making it clear that everyone needs to wear a mask whenever they are with someone who is not from the same household. The Order also adds the mask requirement to several additional settings including any public indoor space even when maintaining 6 feet of distance; gyms even when exercising; all schools public and private; and all public or private transportation when travelling with people outside of the household.
The Order also requires large retail businesses with more than 15,000 square feet to have an employee stationed near entrances ensuring mask wearing and implementing occupancy limits for patrons who enter.
Dr. Mandy Cohen, Secretary of North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, updated North Carolina’s COVID-19 County Alert System map due to the rapid rise in cases and hospitalization over the past week. Since introducing the system last week, ten more counties have moved into the red category indicating critical community spread. There are now 20 red counties and 42 orange counties. Gaston County is red.
“The coming weeks will be a true test of our resolve to do what it takes to keep people from getting sick, to save lives, and to make sure that if you need hospital care whether it’s for a heart attack or a car accident or COVID-19, you can get it,” said NCDHHS Secretary Mandy K. Cohen, M.D.
 also provided an update on North Carolina’s data and trends.
Trajectory in COVID-Like Illness (CLI) Surveillance Over 14 Days- North Carolina’s syndromic surveillance trend for COVID-like illness is increasing.
Trajectory of Confirmed Cases Over 14 Days- North Carolina’s trajectory of cases is increasing.
Trajectory in Percent of Tests Returning Positive Over 14 Days- North Carolina’s trajectory in percent of tests returning positive is increasing slightly.
Trajectory in Hospitalizations Over 14 Days-North Carolina’s trajectory of hospitalizations is increasing.
In addition to these metrics, the state continues building capacity to adequately respond to an increase in virus spread in testing, tracing and prevention.
Testing- Testing capacity is high.
Tracing Capability- The state is continuing to hire contact tracers to bolster the efforts of local health departments.
Personal Protective Equipment- North Carolina’s personal protective equipment (PPE) supplies are stable.
Bob Sweeten, Holly Wright Maurer, Karen Hite Jacob, Rebecca Miller Saunders, Eddie Ferrell. John Jacob, photographer

Carolina Pro Musica presents
an 18th-century Christmas

(December 3, 2020 Issue)

Carolina Pro Musica continues Season 43 with their annual holiday concert on December 19, 2020 at 7:00 PM. A variation on a Lessons and Carol Service, the ensemble invites the audience to participate on several familiar selections. The rest of the program features works by Bach, Crüger, Maria Peruchona, and Michel Corrette.
No program would be complete without chant so we begin with the familiar “Veni, Emanuel”, an Advent hymn known to most as “O come, O Come Emmanuel. Other familiar works include “Sleeper’s Wake”, “Good Christian Men, rejoice and “O come all ye Faithful.” Selections from Bach’s Magnificat and Franz Gruber’s “Silent Night” with the original accompaniment by guitar offer familiar music. A Christmas motet “Ad Gaudia” by Maria Peruchona, an Ursuline nun from northern Italy, adds a bit of unknown lovely music to the season.
The story of Christ including prophecy, birth, visits by the shepherds and kings and the incarnation are told by Bob Sweeten, actor and longtime radio personality on the Bob & Sheri syndicated morning show that originates in Charlotte. Sweeten makes his 12th appearance with Carolina Pro Musica.  Readings are scripture and poetry. Carolina Pro Musica appears in period attire and performs on period instruments.
Due to Covid-19 this concert will be prerecorded at Belmont Abbey Basilica and premier on Carolina Pro Musica’s YouTube channel at the time of the concert.
Online viewers are asked to support the production through contributions by mail, through or on Facebook.
Carolina Pro Musica
 Karen Hite Jacob, director, harpsichord, chamber organ, Rebecca Miller Saunders, soprano
 Holly Wright Maurer, recorder, viola da gamba, Edward Ferrell, recorders, traverso, guitar
Carolina Pro Musica was founded in 1977 to perform “Early music” – using period instruments and voice in the styles of the musical periods in which it was written.

Attention college students! 

(December 3, 2020 Issue)

The Gaston County Museum is looking for spring interns to work in its Curatorial Department. This is a great opportunity to work with a team of museum professionals on exhibit planning and installation. For more information on applying, visit under JOIN, or contact our Curator at   Gaston County photo
Susan McDonald

GCPL welcomes new Library Director

(December 3, 2020 Issue)

By Dandria Bradley

Gaston County has named the new director for the public library. Susan McDonald started on Monday, October 19 and received a warm   reception from library staff members. Susan previously worked at the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library in various capacities. In her more than 18 years with the   library system, she has served as a Reference Librarian and Associate Director.
During her time there, she co-developed and led their internal Leadership Development       Program, and was a leader of the WorkSmart Initiative that won the Urban Libraries Council award for innovative practices in libraries.
Susan graduated from Appalachian State University with a B.S. in   Recreation and Leisure Management and received her MLIS from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Susan was born and raised in North Carolina and has lived in all parts of the state except the coast.
While in graduate school, she worked in the Z. Smith Reynolds Library at Wake Forest University, where she stayed for seven years before moving to Charlotte and working at the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library. Susan is excited to be with GCPL.
“I am passionate about providing excellent customer   service to patrons and staff.     Developing staff strengths, discovering unmet community needs, and using innovative thinking to enhance both is the fuel that keeps me energized. I am privileged and excited to     collaborate with all the communities in Gaston County to show how the Library can make a positive impact and become an essential resource within each community,” she said.
After leaving Charlotte, Susan moved to Gastonia with her spouse and youngest son. Her three adult children still live in Charlotte.

County launches new way to pay tax bills during COVID-19

(December 3, 2020 Issue)

The Gaston County tax department is offering residents a new and hassle-free way to pay their tax bills. During the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, this offers an option that does not require leaving your vehicle to make your payment.
The county is leasing an old bank branch, located at 405 N. Chester St., in Gastonia, and set up services to do drive-through tax bill payments for residents who wish to pay in person by cash or check. This eliminates the need for face-to-face contact, making this payment method a safer and contact-less option for citizens and county employees alike.
It will operate Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Non-cash payments may also be made by utilizing drop boxes at the tax office, located at the Gaston County Administration Office, 128 W. Main Ave., in Gastonia. The drop boxes are located on each side of the rear entrance doors of the building.
Residents can also mail their payments to the Gaston County Tax Department, P.O. Box 1578, Gastonia, NC, 28053. Additionally, online credit card payments are accepted at or can be made over the phone by calling 1-855-976-3866.

Community Relief Organization fundraiser

(December 3, 2020 Issue)

For over 20 years, Mount Holly has rung in their holiday season with many traditions, such as the Christmas Parade and the Mount Holly CRO Community Concert. Due to COVID-19, the city is unable to hold these events.
In past years, Mount Holly CRO has raised up to $10,000 to help with their mission of “Neighbors Helping Neighbors”. After successfully moving their annual “Music to Fight Hunger” fundraiser to a virtual format (raising over three times their original goal),the leadership of the Community Relief Organization partnered with Mount Holly First United Methodist Church, who typically hosts the community concert, to produce a Christmas special that will be online-only. They hope to raise $10,000 to fight hunger in the Mount Holly area in this one-night event on December 5th at 7:00 PM.
Members of the community have stepped up to help host and perform in the program. If you tune into the event, you will find civic leaders, radio and TV personalities, local pastors, praise bands, and choirs all spreading the cheer of Christmas and supporting the CRO’s mission.
Performers in the event include: Finish Line Christian Center, First Presbyterian Church of Mt. Holly, For the Love of Technology, The Heights (Catawba Heights Baptist Church), Mt. Holly Fire Department, Mt. Holly First United Methodist Church, Mt. Holly Police Department, The Pointe Church, Queen of the Apostles Catholic Church, Rhythm Church, The Summit Beer Shop, The Vintage Nest, Wesley Chapel Holiness Church, Mayor Bryan Hough, Garrie Brinkley, Bobby Black, Jim Huggins, L. Reeves McGlohon, and Ramona Holloway.
In addition to the Virtual event, the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, and Youth Group of Mount Holly First United Methodist Church have distributed flyers to many of the neighborhoods of Mount Holly and will be collecting food on the day of the event. This event will be hosted online via Facebook Live on the Mount Holly CRO facebook page as well as on the event’s website,
For more information about this event, visit

Park Street Methodist Church to host Bluegrass on the Lawn with Trinity River Band

(November 19, 2020 Issue)

Park Street Methodist Church, 120 Park Street,  Belmont, will host  Bluegrass on the Lawn with Trinity River Band, Sunday November 22nd at 6:00pm. Please bring your own lawn chair. Donations will be taken for the band. Question/Info, please call the church office at 704-825-8480.

Gaston Day students decorate picnic tables

(November 12, 2020 Issue)

Gaston Day School eighth grade art students worked on a project to turn  picnic tables into functional art.
Because students are spending more time in outdoor spaces,  eighth grade parents donated twelve tables for the GDS community to use.
The students created their own designs with a partner, and  incorporated an element from the “portrait of a graduate” into their designs.
Portrait of a Graduate : Gaston Day School Spartans pursue scholarship and knowledge as a means to…create solutions, collaborate, and drive innovation within their world, discover their unique talents and ignite their passions, embrace their humanity and diversity, approach opportunities and challenges with self-motivation and resilience, achieve a life of curiosity, balance, and purpose.
These tables have added a lot of color and energy to the GDS Campus. Good job Eighth Grade!
Elks Lodge President Joe Heavner presented a check to Meals on Wheels Director Selina Pate.

Gaston’s Meals on Wheels
receives grant from Elks Lodge

(November 12, 2020 Issue)

The Meals on Wheels-Gaston program announced  that it received a grant from the Gastonia Elks Lodge #1634 through funding from the Elks National Foundation.
Annually, the Gastonia Elks Lodge gives grant funding to four different organizations in the community. This year, the Meals on Wheels-Gaston program received the Gratitude Grant for $2,500. Elks Lodge President Joe Heavner presented the check to Meals on Wheels Director Selina Pate. Also in attendance for the presentation were Tom Brooks, Elks Lodge Grant Coordinator, Elks Lodge members Beth Lattimore and Joel Phillips, and Meals on Wheels-Gaston staff members, Maren Brown and Amanda Dawson.
The Meals on Wheels-Gaston program ensures that seniors have access to nutritious food, as many of them lack the family support, mobility, or resources to provide this necessity on their own. The program also makes it possible for seniors, who are often alone, to receive a friendly visit each day from a volunteer. Along with that visit, volunteers perform a safety check with each meal delivery. In case of an emergency or problem, the volunteers can call for medical assistance, as well as notify family members.
For those seniors who have mobility, Meals on Wheels serves meals at six sites throughout Gaston County: Belmont, Bessemer City, Cherryville, Dallas, Gastonia, and Mount Holly. If you would like more information about the Meals on Wheels-Gaston program, please call 704-862-7540.
City of Lowell photo

Lowell Police Department 2nd Annual Food Drive

(November 12, 2020 Issue)

The Lowell Police Department is happy to announce its second annual food drive. The food drive started November 1st, 2020 and ends December 15th, 2020. You can drop off food and non-perishable items anytime at the Lowell Police Department. If there is no one at the office at the time, you can leave it in the lobby. All foods collected will go to a local food bank in Lowell. 
Gaston Schools photo

Pumpkins for Carr Elementary

(November 12, 2020 Issue)

Thanks to the Town of Dallas, the Dallas Police, Chief Walls, and the Dallas Walmart for providing the pumpkins for the Carr Elementary Kindergarten Pumpkin Patch. Usually, Carr kindergarten students have their first school field trip to the pumpkin patch, but that was not possible this year.  Dr. Duncan read Pumpkin, Pumpkin and each student picked a pumpkin. The students were so excited. Thanks to everyone who made this happen. 

Marie Beard

Keeping a positive attitude is on the menu for cafeteria manager Marie Beard

Marie Beard encourages students to always keep a positive attitude no matter what challenges arise.  It’s advice that the cafeteria manager at Forestview High School knows well.
Beard, who is serving in her 17th year as a cafeteria manager in Gaston County Schools, began her school nutrition career when her husband was diagnosed with cancer.  Working in school cafeterias, she was able to have a job and still care for her family.
Beard is familiar with the ins and outs of running a school cafeteria.  Graduating from Ashbrook High School in 1981, she worked at Hunter Huss High School as a cafeteria assistant.  She also has served as the cafeteria manager at North Belmont Elementary, Page Primary, and Hawks Nest STEAM Academy.
While her day-to-day duties vary from preparing meals to delegating assignments and monitoring food safety, Beard says her favorite part of working in the cafeteria is getting to see the students.
“It is a pleasure to serve meals for our students,” she said. “I love getting to interact with them and to watch them grow each and every day.”
It’s a trait that Forestview principal Crystal Houser says makes Beard stand out.
“Marie truly cares about our students at Forestview High School,” she said. “She and her staff work tirelessly to ensure our students’ nutritional needs are addressed, and she goes above and beyond every day for our school.  Best of all, she always has a good attitude and keeps a positive outlook.”
Houser said staying positive is important during challenging times such as the coronavirus pandemic.  She has watched Beard and her staff make adjustments to their daily routine – changes that have been necessary in an effort to always do what is best for students. 
All cafeterias in Gaston County Schools have a sanitation rating of at least 98 percent, giving them an A+ grade for making sure that meals are prepared in a healthy and safe environment.  Beard takes particular pride in the 99-point score at Forestview High School, knowing that she and her colleagues are looking out for the students and staff while preparing breakfasts and lunches.  It’s a responsibility she doesn’t take lightly.
Having served 25 years in local government and state jobs – Beard previously worked for the Gastonia Police Department for more than seven years as a telecommunications supervisor – she knows the importance of making a difference in the world around you.
Beard is grateful that she gets to make a difference while managing the cafeteria at Forestview High School.  And as for her favorite meal?  That’s an easy one.
“The oven-roasted chicken with mashed potatoes and green beans,” she says with a smile.
Najira Davis

Davis is Gaston College SGA President for 2020-2021

 Najira A. Davis is the current president of the Gaston College Student Government Association. She began her term in office in August 2020. Davis has attended Gaston College since 2016, her freshman year at Gaston Early College High School. The GECHS program enables Davis to graduate in May 2021 with both her high school diploma and her Associate in Applied Science degree.
Davis started volunteering with SGA in 2018 and became a senator with the organization in 2019. “I wanted to be SGA president because I saw it as an opportunity to help make an impact,” she said. “As president I know there are many responsibilities and duties, not to mention that the president is the voice for all students at the College. I wanted to be a part of that, to help students be heard and make sure they know they have people here for them.”
After Gaston College, Davis plans to attend East Carolina University to earn her bachelor’s degree in nursing and then a master’s in midwifery. She wants to work as a Certified Nurse-Midwife. “My career goal is to help as many people as possible,” she said, “and put the people I care for first.”
While serving as SGA president, however, Davis wants to help ensure that students enjoy their time at Gaston College, and she encourages them to actively participate in SGA. “Students will gain so many skills and have an abundance of growth while in SGA,” she said. “If anyone thinks they may be even a little bit interested, they should come talk to us.” The Gaston College SGA office is in Room 213 of the Myers Center on the College’s Dallas campus. The phone number to reach SGA is 704-922-6472.

Gaston County Schools
celebrates Teachers of the Year


Trent Sims earns Teacher Hero of COVID-19 award

Ashbrook High School chemistry teacher Trent Sims knows that the Little Free Libraries located at schools across the county serve as “food for the soul and for the mind” for students.  But when the coronavirus pandemic hit North Carolina in March and schools were closed for in-person instruction, Sims and his wife, Katie, worried about food to fill the stomachs of students who would no longer be at school to eat in the cafeteria.
The couple jumped into action, deciding to turn the Ashbrook Little Free Library, an outdoor resource center for books, into something more.  The two went to Sam’s Club and bought as much food and snacks as they could.  Then, they filled the library with food in an effort to make it available to the community.
“At the beginning of the pandemic, we realized we would be out of school for the foreseeable future,” Sims said. “My wife and I had all the resources we needed, but we realized there were students in our community who were going to struggle and that really hit home for us.”
The project gained traction around the county, and Trent and Katie were soon asking for donations and filling Little Free Libraries at Highland School of Technology and Gardner Park Elementary School.  Trent’s involvement in the project led to him being named a weekly “Teacher Hero of COVID-19,” a recognition program sponsored by FSI Office, HP, and the Carolina Panthers.
“It was a big surprise,” Sims said. “I had colleagues who nominated me and that is such an honor.  Being able to bring recognition to Ashbrook and to Gaston County is really important to me.
Sims said that he and Katie both love to read and enjoy being able to stock the Little Free Libraries with food and books.
For being nominated as a “Teacher Hero,” Sims received a large box of practical items like sanitizer, masks, and school supplies.  When he earned enough votes to be named a weekly winner, he was approached about the $1,000 prize being split up into $750 for school supplies and $250 to go toward purchasing food supplies for the libraries.  He said the decision was easy.
He also found out he would be attending a Carolina Panthers game with two free tickets.  At the game, he competed with six weekly winners and was announced as the overall winner.  This time, the honor included Panthers merchandise and another $1,000 for Ashbrook High School.
While the prizes are wonderful, the Gaston County native and Highland graduate said he has been overwhelmed by the support he has received for the project.
“It’s been amazing,” Sims said. “I’ve been getting notifications and texts and emails. I couldn’t be more thankful for my support system.”
Dr. Rebecca Wilson, principal at Ashbrook High School, said it’s been great to witness the outcome of the Little Free Libraries’ conversion to a place for free books and free food.
“Trent Sims has created a real, visible change throughout our community,” Wilson said. “Through all the difficulties our students have faced during this challenging time, they always knew the pantry would be stocked.  Mr. Sims has truly been a beacon of hope and encouragement for our students and for the community.”
And the recognition isn’t over yet.  The final prize involves the Panthers’ mascot, Sir Purr, which Sims said is generating lots of talk around school.  He said the classroom virtual visit may become a school-wide virtual visit.
Throughout the project, Sims has found it important to remind his students that the project isn’t about him, but instead it’s about making a difference when you can.
“It’s easy to sit back and let someone else do the work,” Sims said. “It can begin with me, but it shouldn’t end with me.  Pay it forward, and it comes back to you.  Our Little Free Pantry idea had a snowball effect where people were willing to step up and do the work in their community as well.  That’s what it’s all about.”

City of Lowell Briefs

New water meters
The City of Lowell will be installing new water meters for customers over the next 6 to 9 weeks. The City has created a Frequently Asked Questions page on its website to provide you more information and how this project will benefit  utility customers.

Fall Leaf Vacuum Schedule: October 16 - February 15
Leaves will be vacuumed if left at curb (no more than 2 ft) in a neat row. Leaves further in yard or near mailboxes will not be vacuumed. Please ensure there are no rocks, sticks, or brush mixed in with leaves.

Collecting coats
The Lowell Women’s Club is collecting new coats for kids in need at our local schools. Drop off locations are  Fryeday Coffee Roasters and  Kelly’s K-9 Kitchen, LLC.

Lowell Parks and Recreation will not be collecting coats this year but they do have available coats in their coat closet to hand out to those in need in our community. If you know someone in need, whether it’s a kid or an adult, please reach out to the Parks and Recreation Department at (704) 824-0099.

Stanley council meeting scheduled

The Town of Stanley will postpone its regular Town Council meeting scheduled for November 2, 2020 until Monday, November 9, 2020 at 6:00 p.m. at the Town Hall Council Chamber. During this meeting, the Town Council will hold a public hearing regarding the following requests: Request for subdivision of parcel 134144 located on the corner of W Carpenter street and S Buckoak Street, Stanley.  Petition for annexation of parcels 175734, 175761, 175763, and portion of 175764, along NC 27 and Old Mt Holly Road.
The Town of Stanley will hold remote meetings during the State of Emergency that has been declared by the Governor of North Carolina in order to help slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Because of the risks to the public that would arise from continued in-person meetings, the Town is advising to follow the instructions for submitting the comments and remote access.
Written comments may be submitted at any time between the notice of the public hearing and 24 hours after the public hearing to, providing name, physical address, and phone number.  Limit your submission to a document that takes less than three minutes to read.
You can live stream the meeting by going to our Facebook page via this link
GEMS photo

Gaston Co. GEMS Training

Members of Gaston County GEMS A/B shifts recently took part in a STAR Team training exercise.  The topic was vehicle extrication and patient management. Great work by everyone! 
GEMS photos

Congratulations to GEMS Paramedics

Congratulations to GEMS Paramedics John Ashurst (left) and Travis Barnes (right) for an outstanding job at successfully resuscitating a cardiac arrest patient. For their great job they received a Code Save challenge coin to honor their achievement.

2020 Grand Prize Winner by Lila St. Romain (Youth Ages 8-12) of Gastonia, NC.

2020 Somethin’ Pumpkin winners named

The Gaston County NC Cooperative Extension Somethin’ Pumpkin contest was one of the best ever.
Youth and adults participated in this year’s event with 40 entries, which included a wide variety of creative and delicious foods. Eight contest categories included: 1) Main Dish, 2) Desserts, 3) Miscellaneous, 4) Home Grown, 5) Youth (ages 8-12): Main Dish & Miscellaneous, 6) Youth: Ages 8-12 - Desserts, 7) Youth: Ages 13-18: Main Dish & Miscellaneous, and 8) Youth: Ages 13-18: Desserts.
Through the sponsorship of the Gaston County Farm Bureau prizes were awarded in each category: 1st place - $100, 2nd place - $50, and 3rd place - $25. A grand prize of $200 was awarded to the overall contest winner.
2020 Somethin’ Pumpkin 
Cooking Contest Winners:
Main Dish 1st - Pumpkin Lasagna with Spinach: Jamie Smith; 2nd - Pumpkin Soup: Christopher Smith; 3rd - Pumpkin Potato Corn Chowder: Sandra Long.
Dessert 1st - Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream with Bourbon & Spice Praline Pecans: Jamie Smith;  2nd - Pumpkin Mousse in a Cup: Deborah Mayfield; 3rd - Pumpkin & Dulce De Leche: Maria Canseco.
Miscellaneous 1st - Comfort Pumpkin Drink: Ann Helms; 2nd - Appetizer Pumpkin Spice Latte Dip: Christopher Smith; 3rd - Vegan Pumpkin Morning Glory Muffin: Jamie Smith.
Home Grown 1st - Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread: Linda Carpenter; 2nd - Pumpkin Butter Pound Cake with Caramel Frosting: Adrienne Jones; 3rd - Baked Pumpkin Donut Holes: Addison Brown.
Youth Ages 8-12: Main Dish & Misc. 1st - Pumpkin Dip: Shannah Spargo; 2nd - Tortellini with Pumpkin Alfredo Sauce: Kordak Genovese.
Youth Ages 8-12: Desserts 1st - Pumpkin Everything Cake: Shannah Spargo; 2nd - Chocolate Pumpkin Truffles: Therese Eitzenberger; 3rd - Peanut Butter Pumpkin Fudge: Kordak Genovese.
Youth Ages 13-18: Dessert 1st - Pumpkin Cheesecake Bar Cookies: Kelli McGuire; 2nd - White Chocolate Pumpkin Truffles: Addison Brown; 3rd - Best Pumpkin Spice Blondies: Bronwen St. Romain.

Montcross Chamber leadership changes

Recent leadership changes at the Montcross Area Chamber of Commerce position the organization to continue its record-setting growth in membership and service to members.
Chamber Board Chair Heath Jenkins announced the changes, including the recent retirement of Vice President Teresa Rankin. Rankin served in the position for 13 years.
“Teresa helped shape our Chamber into one of the fastest growing chambers in the region, stated Ted Hall, retired Montcross Area Chamber president. “Her knowledge,enthusiasm and dedication to our members have been invaluable.”
Chamber leadership promoted Member Services Director Julie Bowen to Vice President of Member Services and Events.
Said Jenkins, “Julie is a dedicated and hard-working member of our leadership team who has tremendous insight as to what it takes to continue serving our members and growing our organization.”
Long-time Chamber member and former Board Chair Paul Lowrance of McKenney Family Dealerships was named Provisional President, temporarily filling the vacancy created by the retirement of Ted Hall on June 30.
The search for a permanent president has just begun. A third staff position has been created but is not yet filled.
Jenkins added, “TheMontcross Area Chamber looks forward to the future as we continue to build bridges and tear down walls to bring people together.”
Sam Woods

Women Who Rock Award Winner: Sam Woods

Sam Woods is a Certified Medical Assistant and has been a part of the Kintegra Health family for 12 years now. Sam has never failed, or even hesitated, to join the precarious, yet critical, frontlines in the battle of preventing and protecting our communities against COVID-19. During this overwhelmingly exceptional time that we’ve all had to experience with COVID-19, and with all of the uncertainty and organized chaos that are associated with it, the fortitude, tenacity, and courage that she’s had, and continually displayed, in terms of her wide-ranging clinical knowledge, her compassion, and her ability to teach, have allowed her to excel, and even stand out in doing so, during this pandemic. For perspective, Sam has worked countless hours in helping Kintegra perform over 10,000 Covid-19 tests.
In response to all of the aforementioned, Sam was recently promoted to Clinical Support Specialist. In her new role, Sam will now be responsible for educating clinical staff and ensuring evidenced-based care throughout the Kintegra organization.
Sam serves as an active member of Gastonia’s Flynt Groves Baptist Church. She very proudly embraces her Lumbee American Indian roots, which has graciously translated into a devotion to her community, and a character well-versed in compassion, teaching, and healing. Knowing, understanding, and witnessing the talent, skill, and commitment with which she carries herself easily makes her career choice rather fateful…and a fate that has led to the improvement of the lives and health of those around her.
Sam is definitely a Woman Who Rocks and is a “rock” for others by lifting those around her in faith, culture, and health.
Not only is she a ‘Woman Who Rocks’, as far as Kintegra and Gaston County are concerned, Sam is a Rock Star.
Gaston Museum story/photo

Art Around Gaston!

This new mural at the entrance to the Mount Holly Community Garden is warm, inviting, and a celebration of nature. The Garden has over 50 plots and functions as a place for community building and education about working with the land and self-suffiency. If you have the opportunity, please visit the Garden to see both the mural and all the hard work the residents of Mount Holly have put into the land there!
Designer: Terry Rhyne
Artist: Boyce McKinney
Location: Mount Holly Community Garden
Statement of the Artist:
“Back in June of 2019, the Mount Holly Community Garden had a call for artists to submit ideas/concepts for the Community Garden mural. Myself, along with other artists, submitted ideas and concepts. The committee loved the concept that Terry Rhyne submitted. Terry was not a muralist so the committee asked if I would paint her design on the wall. Of course I had no problem at all with that. The wall is red brick. The size of the mural is 8’ x 20’. I used exterior grade Latex paint. The sunflowers on the right side are special to a family there in Mount Holly. The artichoke on the left side was painted from a photo of artichoke that was in the garden a few years back. I have been painting murals for 20+ years. My style is to be somewhat realistic. 90% of my murals are in public school systems. I learned many years ago that murals need to speak to the audience very quickly. This Mount Holly mural is bright, fun, very colorful, thought provoking, and ties into the Garden perfectly. I think Terry did a fantastic job with the design of this mural. Please visit my website at”

Belmont Festival of Trees set

Downtown Belmont and Stowe Park will once again be filled with the twinkling lights and beautiful ornaments of community decorated Christmas trees for the 3rd annual Festival of Trees. The festival kickoff will be immediately after the Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony on November 30th when participants can stroll from City Hall to Stowe Park and enjoy caroling and other special treats in the park that evening.
The Festival of Trees will run from November 30 - January 3, and is a great opportunity for the whole family to safely enjoy a holiday activity.

Turkeys needed...

Charlotte Rescue Mission needs 4,000 turkeys  for Thanksgiving meal and food boxes. Campaign dates: NOW - November 24, 2020. Drop off turkeys at Charlotte Rescue Mission – Rebound, 907 W. 1st Street, Charlotte, NC 28202. Enter through the glass doors at the 2nd building on the left.
Charlotte Rescue Mission provides a free, 120-day Christian residential program for men and women who are addicted to drugs and/or alcohol and are predominantly homeless. For more information, visit or call 704-333-HOPE (4673). Contact: Rev. Tony Marciano Cell: 704.806.4693.

Hood Memorial AME Zion BBQ sale

Hood Memorial AME Zion Church, 613 N. Main St., Belmont, will be having a BBQ sale on Friday, Nov. 6, from 10am to 7pm. Port-A-Pit will be preparing ½ chicken or five smoked ribs with beans, cole slaw, rolls, and dessert. Plates are $14  for ribs and $10  for chicken carry out only, Free delivery for five or more orders. Contact any member of Hood Memorial to pre-order. Call 980-283-7007 or message at

Queen of Apostles Thanksgiving lunch

The members of Queen of the Apostles Church, 503 N. Main St in Belmont, will continue our custom of providing a  Thanksgiving Meal. Due to the Coronavirus, this year we will offer a meal kit to those needing to prepare a Thanksgiving meal at their homes. The meal kit will feed 4 people and will include a $15 gift card that can be used towards the purchase of a turkey or ham.
We can deliver a meal kit to your home on Saturday, November 21st, or you can pick up a meal kit at the church on the same day between 10am and 12 Noon. To place your order, you have 2 options:
1. Call the church office to place your order. The  phone number is (704) 825-9600.  Give us your name, address, phone number, an email address if you have one, and the number of meal kits you need (maximum of 2).  The deadline to place your order is Thursday, November 12th.
2. Go to the church’s web site,, look for the “Thanksgiving Meal Order Kit” slide and click there.  That will take you to the on-line order form. Be sure to indicate on the order form if you want your meal kit delivered to your home or if you will pick it up.

Fifth confirmed rabies case of 2020

On Tuesday October 6, 2020 at approximately 3:49pm Gaston County Police Animal Care and Enforcement received a call from the 100 block of Lewis Lake Road Bessemer City, NC 28016.  The call was reference to a possible rabid animal.  Two family dogs killed a skunk.   
Animal Care and Enforcement Specialists investigated the incident.  The deceased skunk was sent to the NC Laboratory of Public Health in Raleigh.  On Thursday October 8, 2020 the skunk specimen tested positive for rabies.
Two Labrador mix dogs, one male and one female, were up to date on their required rabies vaccinations and received a rabies booster shot within 96 hours of the exposure.
Animal Care and Enforcement completed a neighborhood canvass in the area of Lewis Lake Road, Bessemer City, NC to notify the community of the positive rabies results and verify rabies vaccinations for family animals in the area.
Gaston County Animal Care and Enforcement also notified Gaston County Department of Health and Human Services for their regular follow up investigation.
The Gaston County Police Department Animal Care and Enforcement unit stresses the importance of having a valid rabies vaccination for all of your pet’s health and safety as well as the health and safety of animal owners and community.
This represents the fifth confirmed rabies case in Gaston County this year. No further information is available at this time.

Crowders Mountain cleanup day planned

(October 29, 2020 Issue)

The Friends of Crowders Mountain invites volunteers to join them for trail work or litter pick up on Saturday, November 7.  Meet at 8:30 a.m. at the Sparrow Springs Visitor Center, 522 Park Office Lane, Kings Mountain, NC.  Work will end by noon.  Tools, safety glasses, insect repellant, drinks, and snacks will be provided. Bring your own work gloves and mask,  dress appropriately for outdoor work and bring any necessary medications.  Trailwork days are weather dependent. If questions, Call 704-853-5375.  To learn more check out or

Hood Memorial AME Zion BBQ sale

Hood Memorial AME Zion Church, 613 N. Main St., Belmont, will be having a BBQ sale on Friday, Nov. 6, from 10am to 7pm. Port-A-Pit will be preparing ½ chicken or five smoked ribs with beans, cole slaw, rolls, and dessert. Plates are $14  carry out only, Free delivery for five or more orders. Contact any member of Hood Memorial to pre-order. Call 980-283-7007 or message at
(October 29, 2020 Issue)

Julia Armstrong was recently named Manager of the Year by GEM Management for the great job she does  managing the Myrtle Terrace Apartments in Belmont. Armstrong was selected out of 262 candidates following recommendation from her supervisor Deb Pantoroi and Myrtle Terrace residents.  Armstrong has led the way at Myrtle Terrace for six years. She’s seen with several of the residents.     
Photo by Bill Ward

Humanity House ground breaking

(October 29, 2020 Issue)

Ground was broken last week on a new Habitat for Humanity house at 111 Farmington Dr. in Stanley. Folks staffing the shovels at the event included Joyce Womic, Karen Womic, Kaden Caldwell, Desjiah Coulter (homeowner), Dr. Rev. Claude Williams, and Rev. Kelly Farmer.


Congratulations to Jean Norkett!

(October 29, 2020)

Congratulations to GEMS Admin. Support Spec. Jean Norkett, on her 30 years of dedicated service to Gaston County EMS. Jean joined the organization as an EMT-Intermediate. She spent seven years working on the ambulance and then transitioned into the billing department.



(October 29, 2020)

Folks driving down New Hope Rd. near Cramerton have been doing double takes at this display of flags and message placed  in a field by Allen McCuen. The flags represent a variety of armed forces, first responders and other patriotic themes.

Photo by Alan Hodge

President Trump Visits Gaston County

(October 29, 2020 Issue)

U.S. President Donald Trump visited Gaston County last week and held a rally at the Gastonia airport. Estimates are that over 20,000 people attended the event.
Photos by Bill Ward


Community Briefs

(October 29, 2020)

Stanley has changed Senior Christmas Dinner scenario

The Town of Stanley was going to cancel its yearly Senior Christmas Dinner this year .. but the good news is, Stanley Parks and Recreation has come up with a way to still have it.  It will be pick up or   delivery to your house. Dec 19th .. between 4;30 -6:30. You can call Town Hall at 704-263-4779 and put your name on the list or contact Parks and Rec. director Tug Deason. Deadline to register is Dec 12th.

Christmas parades called off
Due to COVID19 concerns, the annual Christmas parades in Stanley, Cramerton, and Mt. Holly have been called off.

Gaston County Parks and Recreation news
Halloween Drive-In Bingo

Join Gaston County Parks and Rec. for a Halloween Drive-In Bingo Friday, October 30th at 6pm. Dress in your best costumes and decorate your vehicles to enter a raffle for a prize. Parking lot will OPEN at 5:35 - NO EARLIER - at Dallas Park in the parking lot in at the end of Leisure Lane, between the two lakes. Anna’s Sweet Treats will be here for all of your snack needs. Two Bingo cards per car per game. Prize baskets full of donations from local businesses. Fun for ALL AGES! This is a FREE EVENT.
Fall Video Challenge
Take a fun short video of your visit at one of the Gaston County Parks, from now until November 20th. BE CREATIVE!  Submit videos to The top 10 videos will be voted on to determine first place. All participants will receive a prize! All videos must abide by our Park Ordinance (found on website). By submitting a video, you agree to allow the video to be displayed on our Facebook account.
Veteran’s Tribute Breakfast

Gaston County Senior Center’s DRIVE-IN Veteran’s Tribute Breakfast will be  held Friday, November 6th, 2020, 10:00AM. Please RSVP by October 30th. To register please call 704-922-2170. 1303 Dallas Cherryville Hwy., Dallas, NC in the Senior Center parking lot. Honoring All Who Have Served. Everyone is invited to come support our Veteran’s and their families.

Dia de Muertos event planned

The Gaston County Museum is hosting its second annual celebration of Día de Muertos virtually. Starting Saturday, October 31 through Monday, November 2 the museum’s website will host a dedicated page for the holiday.
 Spotlighting arts, history, and Latinx culture, the Gaston County Museum has worked with a dedicated panel to provide a free and accessible resource for Día de Muertos 2020. This year you can virtually learn about the history Día de Muertos, enjoy videos of music and dancing, and even collect a new recipe for a delicious treat.
 Visit and follow the ‘Día de Muertos’ link under “Learn” to experience the multi-day festival in a brand new way.
For more information, contact the museum at (704) 922-7681 or email  Patrick Stepp at

Celebration of Arts in Education Week 2020

In celebration of Arts in Education Week 2020, Belmont Middle School collaborated on this butterfly mobile art piece. The Arts create hope, connect us, and bring joy, especially during these challenging times. The 568 butterflies were made by BMS students and staff and are written with the hopes they have for themselves, their families, our school, our community, the country, and the world. 

StoryWalk is now open
(October 22, 20202 Issue)

The StoryWalk is now open at Tuckaseege Park. Co-sponsored by Mt. Holly Branch Library, Lowe’s Home Improvement and the City of Mount Holly, this family-free event is the perfect way to enjoy the fall weather while getting some exercise. Begin at the Carolina Thread Trail sign near the restrooms and you’ll end up by the playground after reading a children’s book along the way.

Mt. Holly CRO news briefs
(October 22, 2020 Issue)

Help the Mt. Holly Community Relief Organization make Thanksgiving dinner possible.
Through Nov. 2nd, CRO is taking names and phone numbers from community members who need help with this special family meal. The only way to get on this list is to call the CRO directly.
Would you like to sponsor a family meal?
If you, your civic group, church group, or business would like to sponsor a family, please send a message through the CRO Facebook page or to Include your (or your group’s) name and how many meals you are willing to sponsor. CRO will respond with all of the information you need to shop for your sponsored family, as well as the drop-off date and location (the CRO is only collecting names this year). If you prefer, you can provide a financial donation in person or online (select “General” and note “Thanksgiving” in the memo).
COVID-19 Operational Updates
CRO will continue to maintain our COVID-19 operational adjustments through 2020. Once you arrive, please stay with your vehicle until a volunteer can sign you in. If you are bringing a donation, CRO will be able to collect it outside. CRO is are committed to serving our community while also keeping our clients, volunteers, and staff safe. Clients need to sign in by 11:45 a.m.
Current Needs - Urgent Needs- canned veggies of all sorts, spaghetti noodles and sauce, canned pasta (i.e. raviolis, beefaroni), toilet paper, soap, other basic toiletries.
Community Fire Dept. Halloween event

Community Fire Dept. Halloween event
(October 22, 2020 Issue)


There will be a “Drive-Thru Trick or Treat “ at Community Fire Department, 1873 Perfection Avenue, North Belmont on Saturday, October 31st  from 2 pm-4 pm.
Put on your costume, pull up, scream trick or treat , get your treat and roll out! Here’s how it will work.
Simply pull through in your car and (to keep everyone safe) volunteers will be wearing masks and dropping candy directly into your Halloween bag, avoiding any physical contact.
COVID-19 Guidelines- Children and adults will need to stay in cars.

Jackson of Belmont named to spring 2020 dean’s list

Ethan Jackson of Belmont, North Carolina is among the nearly 1,000 Citadel cadets and students recognized for their academic achievements during the spring 2020 semester.
Recognizing the academic successes of Citadel cadets and students is a special tradition each semester, even one as atypical as this. But these cadets and students earned their grades in unique circumstances and were able to focus on their studies while transitioning to virtual learning in March 2020.
The dean’s list is a recognition given to cadets and students who are registered for 12 or more semester hours and whose grade point average is 3.20 or higher, with no grade of I (Incomplete) and no grade below C for work in a semester.

Dawson donates $2,500 to BCO

Belmont business DAWSON recently made a donation of $2,500 to the Belmont Community Organization (BCO) for the company’s annual DAWSON National Day of Service honoring board member Beadie Kanahele Dawson’s birthday. This year DAWSON is providing financial support to 15 organizations dedicated to feeding communities in 14 U.S. locations that we serve and the BCO is one of them.  Dawson greatly values the vital work the BCO is doing to keep the community nourished during these challenging times. DAWSON is a global business enterprise with Native Hawaiian roots and every day lives by the traditional Hawaiian value of Aloha (embodying respect, compassion, and care for all). DAWSON is committed to sharing aloha across the globe by giving back to the communities where we live and work. About DAWSON’s National Day of Service (NDS) DAWSON’s National Day of Service (NDS) is the company-wide annual community service event. Each year, DAWSON employees across the United States come together to plan a volunteer day in their local communities to celebrate the birthday of our company matriarch Beadie Kanahele Dawson, who turns 91 years young this year. In 2020, while the in-person volunteer events are on pause, DAWSON is keeping the NDS spirit of giving alive with financial contributions to organizations dedicated to feeding those in need. Learn more at Instagram: @dawsonimpact;
Photo: Historic Hoyle Homestead. John Jacob, photographer.

One of Gaston County’s
oldest homes goes Virtual

The Hoyle Historic Homestead invites you to view “A Virtual Open House”  premiere Tuesday, October 20, 2020 at 8:00 PM on the Hoyle Historic Homestead YouTube channel
Narrated by Randy Thomason and Robert Carpenter the video features the history of the house and family, as well as a guided tour of the house including the most significant aspect, the traditional German log and corner post construction. Historians note this is the only surviving log corner post constructed home south of Maryland.
This production is a combination of beautiful video and still photographs of past and present, including the latest addition to the site, the “Post Office”.
For additional details, contact:  or visit the website or on Facebook and Instagram.
Karen Hite Jacob, Rebecca Miller Saunders, Eddie Ferrell and Holly Wright Maurer. Photo by John Jacob

Carolina Pro Musica presents
intriguing concert of Musical Surprises

Carolina Pro Musica presents a unique program of 18th century music entitled Musical Surprises. It features the works of little known composers including Ignatius Sancho, (who was also the first black to vote in England), Johan Roman, the Swedish Handel, J.M. Nunes Garcia from Brazil, le Chevalier de Saint-Georges (the Black Mozart). Isabella Leonarda and a newly discovered work by Telemann.
The concert is Monday, October 19, 2020, at 8:00 PM, at the Abbey Basilica, Belmont. NC. Admission is free. A limited live audience will be admitted. Masks and social distancing are required. Donations are welcomed.  The concert will also be live streamed -
For more information or to make a reservation call 704-461-6012 or see or

Carolina Pro Musica was founded in 1977 to perform “Early music” – using period instruments and voice in the styles of the musical periods in which it was written.

Governor Cooper moves North Carolina to Phase 3

North Carolina will ease cautiously some restrictions while continuing safety measures to combat the spread of COVID-19 as the state’s metrics remained stable in September, Governor Roy Cooper announced last Wednesday.
“Our top priority remains getting children back to in-person learning. This month marks a major shift for many families now and in the coming months as schools open their doors, some for the first time since the pandemic,” said Governor Cooper. “The virus continues to spread, so we must take the next steps methodically, and responsibly.”
“We must continue our hard work to slow the spread of this virus,” said Secretary Mandy K. Cohen, M.D. “By practicing the 3Ws — wear, wait and wash, — getting your flu shot, and downloading the SlowCOVIDNC app, each of us can protect the progress we have made.”
Dr. Cohen reviewed the state’s key metrics:
Trajectory in COVID-Like Illness (CLI) Surveillance Over 14 Days- North Carolina’s syndromic surveillance trend for COVID-like illness has a slight increase.
Trajectory of Confirmed Cases Over 14 Days- North Carolina’s trajectory of lab-confirmed cases is level.
Trajectory in Percent of Tests Returning Positive Over 14 Days- North Carolina’s trajectory in percent of tests returning positive is level.
Trajectory in Hospitalizations Over 14 Days- North Carolina’s trajectory of hospitalizations is level.
In addition to these metrics, the state continues building capacity to adequately respond to an increase in virus spread in testing, tracing and prevention.
No-cost testing events are being deployed across the state and testing turnaround times are improving. New contact tracers are bolstering the efforts of local health departments. A new NCDHHS app, SlowCOVIDNC, is notifying users of exposure to the virus. Personal protective equipment (PPE) supplies are stable.
 Executive Order 169 began Oct. 2 at 5 p.m. and continues for three weeks through October 23. Its new provisions include:
Large outdoor venues with seating greater than 10,000 may operate with 7% occupancy for spectators.  Smaller outdoor entertainment venues, like arenas or amphitheaters, may operate outdoors at 30% of outdoor capacity, or 100 guests, whichever is less. Movie theaters and conference centers may open indoor spaces to 30% of capacity, or 100 guests, whichever is less. Bars may operate outdoors at 30% of outdoor capacity, or 100 guests, whichever is less. Amusement parks may open at 30% occupancy, outdoor attractions only. The limits on mass gatherings will remain at 25 people indoors and 50 people outdoors. The 11 pm curfew on alcohol sales for in-person consumption in locations such as restaurants and outdoor bars will be extended to October 23.
State and public health officials will continue watching the key COVID-19 trends over the next several weeks to determine if any further restrictions can be eased when the current Executive Order expires October 23.
(Photo provided)

Holy Angels receives grant from Order of Malta

(October 8, 2020 Issue)

A group from The Order of Malta made a symbolic presentation of a $50,000 check to Regina Moody (seen receiving check), Holy Angels CEO, at the recent Holy Angels Carolina Classic Golf Tournament. This represented a grant recently made to Holy Angels by the Knights of Malta Grants Committee. The grant, “Covid-19 Sanitation and Response Project – Keeping Our Angels Safe” was based on the need for unforeseen and unbudgeted medical supplies and equipment including proper PPE to protect Holy Angels residents, who are medically fragile and the staff who care for them.
In accepting the check, Ms. Moody expressed her gratitude to the Order of Malta for their support during this unprecedented time in our history.  She stated, “Since early March, it has been our primary goal to care for and protect our vulnerable residents. We continue to face each challenge with faith over fear.”
The Order of Malta is a lay religious Order of the Catholic Church organization comprised of over 13,500 members internationally, being present in over 120 countries. Five local knights of the order serve as members of Holy Angels Board of Directors. They have participated in projects at Camp Hope (several serve as volunteer boat drivers) and Holy Angels greenhouse and horticulture program.  When residents have been hospitalized, they volunteer their time to stay with them.
Holy Angels was founded in 1955 by the Sisters of Mercy. The private, nonprofit corporation located in Belmont, NC, provides residential services and innovative programs for children and adults with intellectual developmental disabilities many with delicate medical conditions.
The CARF nationally accredited programs include Holy Angels Morrow Center, the McAuley Residences (Fox Run ICF/MR group homes (three six-bed), Belhaven ICF/IDD group home (15-bed), Moody Place ICF/IDD group home (15-bed), four community group homes, Great Adventures, Camp Hope, and four business enterprises - Cherubs Café, Bliss Gallery and Cotton Candy Factory in downtown Belmont and Spruced Goose Station in McAdenville (providing meaningful job opportunities with adults with intellectual developmental disabilities) along with LifeChoices, an adult day activities and vocational training program offering living and learning opportunities.  To learn more about Holy Angels, join Holy Angels caring team or to volunteer, please call 704.825.4161 or visit Holy Angels website at
Ms. Bridget Means

Means is Carr Elementary Teacher Assistant for 2019-2020

(October 8, 2020 Issue) 

Congratulations to Ms. Bridget Means at Carr Elementary for receiving her awards. She represented Carr Elementary as its Teacher Assistant of the Year for the 2019-2020 school year. She was also selected as a Top 5 Finalist for Gaston County Schools.
Sharon Beckford

Beckford is Carr Elementary Teacher of the Year

(October 8, 2020 Issue)

Congratulations to Mrs. Sharon Beckford at Carr Elementary for receiving this  award. She represented Carr Elementary as its Teacher of the Year for the 2019-2020 school year. She was also selected as a Top 5 Finalist for Gaston County Schools.

Pinewood Elementary teachers receive awards

(October 8, 2020 Issue)

Pinewood Elementary School in Mt. Holly recently had the honor of presenting awards to three amazing educators. Pinewood appreciates their contributions to the school and all of the hard work they do on behalf of students and families Winners are: Megan Guyton, Teacher of the Year; Liz Lanning, Beginning Teacher of the Year; Kassie Heath, Teacher Assistant of the Year and GCS Top Five Finalist.

Gaston Schools photos

COVID-19 assistance for farmers  market operators and local food hubs

(October 8, 2020 Issue)

Farmers markets operators and local food hubs can apply for assistance through the COVID-19 Emergency Aid for Farmers Market Operators and Local Food Hubs program. A total of $750,000 will be available from federal COVID-19 funds earmarked for North Carolina. Application period runs Oct. 1 through Oct. 22.
Funding is meant to assist with losses from reduced number of vendors, plus offset additional expenses associated with offering personal protective equipment, hand sanitizer and handwashing stations, and added COVID-19 educational materials.  Eligible categories for emergency aid include, but not limited to, labor, technology or software upgrades, infrastructure enhancements, COVID-19 education materials, PPE and test kits.
“The deadline to apply is Oct. 22, which is a fairly short application period. It is imperative that operators submit their applications quickly, so we can distribute the funds quickly to meet the federal rules,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “The pandemic has shown us the important role farmers markets and food hubs provide in communities. I am grateful the General Assembly approved the use of the CARES Act funds to ensure these sites continue to operate and exist.”
Two meetings are scheduled to help with application questions. They will be held Oct. 7 from 10-11 a.m. and Oct. 8 from 7-8 p.m. To join either session,  call 1-984-204-1487, then enter Conference ID 144 849 187 followed by the # key when prompted.
The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in serious and substantial impacts on the food supply chain, including farmers markets and local food hubs across North Carolina. Some markets were not able to open due to state or local orders, and others had to reduce the number of vendors to ensure proper social distancing. Additionally, local food hubs lost sales opportunities due to mandated school closures and food service disruptions.
Statewide there are over 250 farmers markets, over 160 roadside stands and 20 USDA registered food hubs.
Details regarding the COVID-19 Emergency Aid for Farmers Market Operators and Local Food Hubs, including definitions of markets and food hubs, are available at

Pumpkin time is here

 (October 8, 2020 Issue)

October is the month for thinking about picking out the perfect decorative pumpkin. Some families may even be interested in utilizing pumpkins in the kitchen for fall treats. North Carolina ranked 4th in pumpkin production in 2018 so while not a big cash crop it is a crop that has proved to be valuable to many of North Carolina’s growers looking for new sources of income. Jack-o’-lantern varieties (Cucurbita pepo) can come in many different shapes and sizes. Pumpkins utilized for food are usually referred to as “pie pumpkins” or “sweet pumpkins”, they are usually smaller, sweeter, and less fibrous than the traditional decorative pumpkins. Pumpkins in our area are planted from seed in late May-July (depending on variety) to ensure an October harvest. Examining results from the testing of cultivar performance in the mountains and the eastern part of the state may give some indication of how varieties may preform in our area.
When picking a Jack-o’-lantern pumpkin make sure you choose a hard pumpkin with no soft spots or blemishes. A heavier pumpkin and one with a strong healthy stem are indications of a healthy pumpkin. Wash your pumpkin and your carving tools with warm water and allow it to dry. Thoroughly clean the interior of your pumpkin after cutting its top off. Soaking or spraying your pumpkin initially with bleach water will help to preserve it as well. Feel free to spray the pumpkin with a bleach water solution daily throughout the lifespan of the Jack-o’-lantern for continued protection from decay via microorganisms. Lastly, use an artificial lighting source rather than a flame that produces heat which can shorten the pumpkins lifespan.

Montcross Area Chamber golf tournament results

 (October 8, 2020 Issue)

The Chick-fil-A Belmont team has finished in the top three at the Montcross Area Chamber Golf Tournament for eight consecutive years, which is every year the team has played. They didn’t disappoint in 2020, taking first-place honors for the second time in the past three years. 
 The team of Tony Gilbert, Tommy Belcher, Jr., Lee Dorn and Benny Bowles came in three strokes better than the second-place winners Hillbilly’s BBQ & Steaks, and four strokes ahead of the Mellow Vapes team, which finished third.
 CaroMont Health was the presenting sponsor of the tournament played at the Cramer Mountain Club course on September 9.  The tournament was postponed from its usual June date because of the coronavirus conditions in spring. Hand washing and hand sanitizing stations were provided for the tournament by Creative Solutions Special Events, and Cramer Mountain Club installed plastic divider screens in carts to protect players.  
Others taking honors at the tournament were: closest to pin winners Craig Kinlaw, NK Hargis and David Buffie. Andrea Sipka won the longest drive competition for women, and Connor McNeely won for men.
The tournament is a major source of financial support for the Chamber, helping make it possible to keep membership rates affordable for small businesses. Chamber officials thank all of the team and event sponsors, donors and volunteers who contributed to making the 2020 tournament another great success.
Roxann Rankin of McAdenville was sworn in as the Clerk of Superior Court for Gaston County. (Photo provided)

Rankin sworn in as Clerk of Superior Court

(October 8, 2020 Issue)

On October 1, 2020, Roxann Rankin of McAdenville was sworn in as the Clerk of Superior Court for Gaston County.  Larry Brown, who had been the Clerk for 14 years and a Magistrate for 30 years prior to that retired on September 30, 2020.  The Honorable Jesse B. Caldwell III appointed Rankin last month and sworn her in. She has worked in the Clerk’s office for 36 years. Holding the Bible which had belonged to Rankin’s late mother Shirley are Caroline and Turner Kuykendall. Roxann’s father is McAdenville resident Steve Rankin.                

Chinese Lantern Festival canceled

(October 8, 2020 Issue)

Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden has canceled its popular Chinese Lantern Festival. The show, originally scheduled to kick off in August and rescheduled to begin Oct. 15 due to the effects of Covid-19, has now been canceled as a result of the cascading effects of the novel coronavirus.
The show’s producer, Hanart Culture is based in the U.S. but depends on Chinese artists to produce the show.
The Garden and Hanart Culture decided that producing the show was impractical. The Garden began advising ticket holders that it would refund their money or offer them a special deal on tickets for its Holidays at the Garden event. The Lantern Festival would have taken the place of the Garden’s traditional winter event, but now the Garden’s staff is making plans to implement Holidays at the Garden beginning in late November. Details for the holiday show will be announced in the coming weeks.
Once the Garden decided the show would be canceled it immediately stopped further ticket sales and began communicating options to ticket holders. Ticket holders who have not been contacted can email for further information about their options.
The Garden hosted Hanart Culture’s Chinese Lantern Festival for the first time in fall of 2017, attracting more than 100,000 visitors in an eight-week period.

Gaston County Public Libary reopens

(October 8, 2020 Issue)

The Gaston County Public Library lifted restrictions and began allowing patrons to come inside the building on Monday, September 28.
The Main Library on Garrison Boulevard, along with the Belmont Branch Library, Union Road Branch Library, and Cherryville Branch Library, will join Builders & Creators at Bessemer City and TECH at Lowell by allowing the public to come into the buildings Monday through Friday, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. only. All persons entering the building will be asked to wear a face covering and practice social distancing protocols.
The Mt. Holly Branch Library, Dallas Branch Library, and Stanley Branch Library will remain closed due to ongoing renovations. The Ferguson Branch Library at Erwin Center will continue to offer Curbside Service only.
During their time in the libraries, patrons will be encouraged to select items for check out, make photocopies, send or receive faxes, or use Wi-Fi or computers only. Leisure seating will be removed at all library locations, and Makerspace devices at BC@BC and TECH@Lowell will not be accessible. This is to help discourage gatherings among the patrons and encourage social distancing.
Patrons will be able to freely use the public access computers at the Main Library during the 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. timeframe; appointments will be required from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. At the branch library locations, patrons are encouraged to make an appointment due to the limited number of available computers. Curbside Service will be available at the Main Library from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. by appointment only. The hours may vary at the branch library locations. Patrons can call the library of their choosing for more information or to schedule an appointment.
For current hours of operation and the services available at these and other library locations, visit

Gaston College partners with Gaston County Schools
to do COVID-19 screenings

As Gaston County schoolchildren in grades K through 12 went back to school, Gaston College health students and the County schools partnered to screen the students for COVID-19 as they arrived at their schools.
Thirty-six health students, dressed in black shirts and wearing cloth face coverings and their Gaston College name badges for identification, worked with principals and staff to do temperature checks and ask screening questions as they worked the car lines or stood at the buildings’ entrance doors. Screenings were held at Carr Elementary, Costner Elementary, W.C. Friday Middle School, Highland School of Technology, and North Gaston High School.
Health students who volunteered gained more experience and worked toward accruing their volunteer hours.
Susan Neeley, Coordinator of Health Services and School Social Work for Gaston County Schools invited Gaston College to assist with the screenings.
“Our partnership with Gaston College has been such a grand experience over the years, I thought what a great idea if it were possible,” said Ms. Neeley. “We wanted to have the three levels of CNAs, MOAs and Nursing Students to assist our schools with state mandates and COVID-19 compliance by doing volunteer temperature checks and asking screening questions in the car lines and at the doors to our schools.”

Seniors are National Merit Scholarship Program semifinalists

Gaston County Schools
Three Gaston County Schools students have been named 2021 National Merit Scholarship Program semifinalists, thus taking the first step in the highly-selective process to earn the distinguished finalist honor and possibly win a National Merit Scholarship.
Sydney Lester, Grace Nehring, and Marshall Pearson are among 16,000 students announced as national semifinalists from a pool of 1.5 million students.  They will have an opportunity to compete for 7,600 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $30 million that will be offered next spring.  Students entered the 2021 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2019 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test.
To move on to the finalist round, students are judged based on an application covering their academic record, leadership abilities, employment, participation in school and community activities, and honors and awards.  Students must also write an essay and be recommended by a high school representative.
This year’s finalists from Gaston County Schools are not just excelling in academics. All three are involved in several extracurricular activities.
Lester, a senior at South Point High School, is an active participant in the environmental club, National Honor Society, and Superintendent’s Student Advisory Council.  In addition, she is proud of her volunteer work with the Cancer Services Youth Advisory Council.
“In the last year, I created and organized a fundraising project to collect donations of soup and Gatorade for chemotherapy patients,” said Lester, who was named Cancer Services’ Volunteer of the Year.  “I have also enjoyed being able to help people who are struggling in the community, while meeting people from all around the county and hearing their stories and successes.” 
In addition, Lester is a competitive year-round swimmer and is on the school’s swim team and track and field team.  Some of her other accolades include being recognized as a Congressional Award Gold Medal recipient, AP (Advanced Placement) Scholar, and Chief Junior Marshal.  She plans to attend college to major in architecture with a minor in environmental science.
Nehring, also a senior at South Point High School, serves as an active volunteer at Holy Angels where she interacts with residents and participates in fundraisers for the organization throughout the year.  In addition, she actively participates in the Bible club, environmental club, Interact club, and National Honor Society, and she is a member of the Science Olympiad team.  Nehring has also participated on the school’s basketball team and is currently an active player on the school’s tennis team.
“I enjoy math and science,” said Nehring, who plans to major in one or more of the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields.  “I would like to get a degree in the STEM field because I think work in this area would be fulfilling and beneficial to the community.”
Additionally, Nehring is a member of the Queen City Stars lacrosse team and is being recruited to play lacrosse at Rhodes College.  Some of her other accolades include being accepted for the prestigious North Carolina Governor’s School, winning several awards in basketball and tennis, and receiving recognition for highest academic average in math III honors, pre-calculus honors, AP biology, physics, and AP environmental science.
Pearson, a senior at Highland School of Technology, is involved in the school’s Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) and Technology Student Association (TSA) clubs.  As a member of FBLA, he participated in the 2018-2019 state conference and attended all of the club meetings. As a member of TSA, his team designed a product that would help a third-world country.
“Our team designed a system that would allow people without access to clean water to help purify their water,” said Pearson, who was unable to present the idea last spring at the TSA state conference because of COVID-19.  “Unfortunately, when in-person learning closed in March, our team never got to test how it would work or fix any design flaws.”
Pearson has aspirations of working in the field of computer science. As a part of the school’s Business, Legal, and Information Science Academy, he has learned the foundations of being able to work with computers, including building a computer, installing software, connecting computers through a network, and creating programs with Python.
In February, Lester, Nehring, and Pearson will find out if they have advanced to the finalist level. Of those finalists, about half will win a scholarship.  Every finalist will compete for one of 2,500 National Merit Scholarships, some 1,000 corporate-sponsored scholarships, and 4,100 college-sponsored scholarships.  National Merit Scholarship winners will be notified after April 1.
Gaston County Schools recently received a $10,000 grant to purchase clear face masks for students who are deaf or hard of hearing. Additionally, the clear face masks will be used by teachers and staff to support students with disabilities. (Above) Julia Sain, Executive Director of the Disabilities Rights & Resources of Charlotte, presented the check and face masks to Superintendent of Schools W. Jeffrey Booker and Judy Leahy, Director of Compliance ADA/Section 504/Title IX Coordinator. Pictured to the right is a clear face mask.

Gaston County Schools receive $10,000 grant for clear face masks

Gaston County Schools recently received a $10,000 grant to purchase clear face masks for students who are deaf or hard of hearing. Additionally, the clear face masks will be used by teachers and staff to support students with disabilities. (Above) Julia Sain, Executive Director of the Disabilities Rights & Resources of Charlotte, presented the check and face masks to Superintendent of Schools W. Jeffrey Booker and Judy Leahy, Director of Compliance ADA/Section 504/Title IX Coordinator.  
Screen shot 2020 10 01 at 9.48.05 am
(L to R-front row) Carrie Gillilan, Clinical Coordinator, Gaston College Department for Emergency Medical Science, Bryan Edwards, Chief, Union Emergency Medical Services, and Dr. Dewey Dellinger, Vice President, Gaston College Academic Affairs. (L to R -backrow) Gaston College President John Hauser, Mark Houser, Lead Paramedics Instructor, Gaston College Department for Emergency Medical Science, James Eubank, Director, Gaston College Department for Emergency Medical Services, and Luke Upchurch, Chief Development Officer and Executive Director, Gaston College Foundation.

Union EMS donates ambulance
to Gaston College EMS program

Gaston College is the recipient of a generous donation from Union Emergency Medical Services in Monroe, North Carolina. The agency, affiliated with Atrium Health, is donating to the College a retired ambulance that will be used to train students in the Emergency Medical Science program.
“The ambulance will be shared amongst our three Paramedic programs and two active EMT classes,” said Carrie Gillilan, Instructor and Coordinator of EMS Clinical Education at Gaston College. “The North Carolina Office of EMS has placed a mandatory driving component on all EMT courses. It was going to be a challenge to figure out how the College could accomplish this class requirement for all our students until now. Union EMS has helped the Gaston College EMS program grow so we can produce quality EMTs and Paramedics.”
Bryan Edwards, Chief of Union EMS, said, “Having obtained my AAS from Gaston College in 2004, I wholeheartedly understand the importance of having proper resources. We look forward to participating in a very small piece of the College’s educational process which we hope will give those in the Emergency Medical Science program some of the resources needed to continue educating those who have chosen the honored field of prehospital medicine.”
Edwards coordinated the implementation of the donation with Luke Upchurch, Chief Development Officer and Executive Director of the Gaston College Foundation.
The ambulance  arrived on the College’s Dallas campus on Thursday, September 3, displaying Gaston College branding.
Screen shot 2020 10 01 at 9.46.48 am
The Mt. Holly Police Dept. would like to send its sincerest gratitude to the members of Myers Memorial United Methodist Church for the sweet treats they sent.

Mt. Holly Police Department 

The Mt. Holly Police Dept. would like to send its sincerest gratitude to the members of Myers Memorial United Methodist Church for the sweet treats they sent. MHPD says “Your support and prayers mean more to us than we could ever express”. MHPD would also like to send a special thank you to Tanya Lunsford for delivering the sweet treats and always supporting and praying for officers.

Hoyle House is a
Gaston County landmark

Even though this year’s annual Hoyle House reunion and tour was canceled due to COVID19 concerns, the home and its surrounding grounds are still an interesting place to visit in better times.

The Hoyle Historic Homestead is Gaston County’s oldest home.  It dates back to circa late 1700’s and is located at 1214 Dallas-Stanley Highway about halfway between the two towns.
 A non-profit educational organization, The Hoyle Historic Homestead, Inc. is in charge of the place and seeks to restore and protect what was originally the home of Peter Hoyle, sometimes spelled Heil, Heyl or Hoyl in old documents.
Hoyle was part of the 18th Century settling of the North Carolina Piedmont by German and Scot-Irish immigrants traveling the Great Philadelphia Wagon Road south through the Shenandoah Valley then into the Carolinas.
The home is important not only for its antiquity, but also for its construction.  The house and outbuildings are on the site where Hoyle received a land grant in 1754.  The main house was built during the late 1700’s.  It features rare corner post construction and is the only known remaining structure in North Carolina with this type of construction.  This was also the site of Hoylesville, the first Federal Post Office in present day Gaston County.
The site was purchased by Hoyle Historic Homestead Inc., in 1991 to preserve and restore this very important part of regional history.  In 1993 it was placed on the National Historical Register.
Hoyle, a miller from Adenbach, Germany, his wife, Catharine, and their children arrived in America on September 11, 1738 on the Robert and Alice, originally settling in northeast Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. The family then lived for some time in Frederick, Maryland, but by 1753 had moved to what is now Gaston County, North Carolina, then part of Anson County.
The exact date of construction of the house is not known, but various sources date it anywhere from 1750 to 1758. After Peter’s and his eldest son Jacob’s deaths, which occurred within a year of each other, the land was inherited by Jacob’s minor son Martin, who then transferred his interest to his uncle John. In 1794 the property went to Peter Hoyle’s other grandson, Andrew, who became a farmer and entrepreneur. “Rich Andrew”, as he was known, may have acquired the property with the house already standing and then improved the dwelling, or he may have built the house and later upgraded it with new finishes in the early years of the 19th century.
The Hoyle House stands on a hill overlooking the South Fork of the Catawba River. The house faces south toward a now overgrown dirt road; the Dallas-Stanley Highway on the north side now provides access to the property.
The earliest section has a foundation of small stones, still partly visible. The house’s German-American hallmarks include its heavy timber frame construction with vertical braces at the corners with tightly fitted horizontal log infillings. The apparently original and complete roof structure is now covered with early 20th century tin, and much of the unusual original beaded siding, applied circa 1810 with cut nails, survives covered by weatherboard. Weathering beneath the beaded siding reveals the exterior was originally unsheathed. Some of the early windows remain, set in molded surrounds with molded sills that appear to date to 1810. The windows originally were small (about two-and-a-half feet square) and possibly filled only with shutters in the earliest period.
The first floor of the main block is a four-room plan of two larger rooms on the east side, with corner fireplaces sharing a single chimney, and two smaller west rooms. Each pair of rooms is of equal width, but the front rooms are slightly deeper. A later, second north-south partition, no longer in place, once created a center-hall plan. Today all rooms connect with adjacent rooms. The original staircase, in the southeast corner of the larger front room, enclosed with one set of winders and at least one stop outside the enclosure, was removed in the late 1960s.
The first floor interior is carefully finished. Much of the modern sheetrock and painting have been removed to reveal early board ceilings and walnut paneled partitions and paneling on the outer walls. While some or all of the interior sheathing appears to date after 1810, all of the trim and some of the ceiling probably date to the first remodeling.
The three room plan of the second floor consists of a large east room that comprises about two thirds of the space along with two small west rooms. The north-south paneled partition is similar to the partition of the first floor. This basic three room plan probably is original, although the partition has been moved at least twice. Notches on the baseboard and patching of the wall plasters and chair rail indicate the wall was moved east, into the larger space, by about three feet. All outer walls were exposed logs until they were plastered, probably early in the 19th century. A door in the northeast corner of the large east room leads to an enclosed attic staircase; in the stairwell the structural system is clearly evident because the corner post, down braces and log filling have never been sheathed.
The two remaining outbuildings date from the early- to mid-19th century. Near the northeast corner of the main house, the well house is a one-story, rectangular common bond brick building with ventilation holes on the ends. A gabled tin roof extends beyond the west end and acts as a porch sheltering the well. The well house stands at the southeast corner, and east of the well house stands a weatherboarded smokehouse with a gabled roof sheathed in sheet metal.
The Hoyle House is an important and, in some respects, apparently unique landmark of traditional German-American architecture in North Carolina. The unusually large, for its time, and substantial dwelling exemplifies a construction method— heavy timber frame with log infill— seen elsewhere in the mid-Atlantic Germanic settlement areas but not previously identified in North Carolina.

Library Director to retire after 33 years with GCPL

By: Dandria Bradley

 Laurel Morris will walk through the doors of the Main Branch of the Gaston County Public Library (GCPL) as its Director for the last time on September 30. After more than 33 years, she will retire from the library system in which she has spent almost her entire career. Laurel has dedicated her professional life to serving the Gaston County community and beyond by being an advocate for the public library and its services, promoting early literacy, and encouraging a love of reading.
Even at a young age, Laurel had a love of reading and dreamed of being a library director. She received her bachelor’s degree in History from Wells College in 1982 and went on to complete her master’s degree in Library Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1984. But she did not stop there. Laurel pursued a second master’s degree in    Public Administration from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte in 1988.
Laurel began her career at GCPL in 1987 as the Reference   Supervisor; three years later, she became the Collection Development Supervisor and also served as the Systems Administrator. During that time, she navigated GCPL as it integrated to an online library system. In 1996, Laurel was promoted to Assistant Library Director and served in that capacity until she assumed the role of Director in 2013.
During her tenure, Laurel has overseen renovations of most of the branch libraries; Dallas, Mt. Holly and Stanley are currently being renovated. She has spearheaded the expansion of digital services, added new circulating mediums, including educational LaunchPads for children, and has overseen the remaking of two branch locations, TECH @ Lowell and BC@BC, from traditional libraries to thriving makerspaces with a focus on STEM and STEAM programming. She was also instrumental in bringing the internationally-acclaimed Maurice Sendak Memorial Exhibition to Gaston County.
Her dedication to Gaston County extends beyond the library walls, as Laurel is heavily involved with the community and the state. She serves as the President of the North Carolina Public Library Director’s Association. She worked with staff and the Gaston County Schools Administration to initiate a WOW (WithOut Walls) virtual library card for all Gaston County public school students. Laurel also serves as Chair for the Gaston County Early Literacy Collaborative, board member for the Gaston Literacy Council, and an integral member of the Loray Mill Historical Committee, who worked with Preservation NC and the UNC Digital Innovation Lab to establish the Kessell History Center. She is a board member of the local Rotary Club and will serve as its president in 2021. For more than 27 years, she has dedicated her time to mentoring young girls through the Girl Scouts of the USA. Laurel has served as a Troop Leader, Service Unit Manager, Literacy Task Force member, and National Council Delegate.
Laurel has dedicated her life to her community. For more than 33 years, she has advocated for the public library system and been a champion for literacy. She has served the people of Gaston County and the state of North Carolina with excellence and dignity. She has made an everlasting impact on anyone with whom she has come into contact. Her love for the Gaston County Public Library and the community has made Gaston County a better place. And for that we say “Thank You.”
Congratulations City of Gastonia Government, winner of the Improving Quality of Life Region Of Excellence Award.


Congratulations City of Gastonia Government, winner of the Improving Quality of Life Region Of Excellence Award. Along with Kintegra Health and  Gaston County Department of Health & Human Services, they formed the Highland Neighborhood Association to address community disparities, including obesity, access to healthy food and housing affordability, in a local low-income neighborhood. They worked to improve quality of life through a range of activities and investments in fresh food access, parks and recreation, healthcare, and community engagement.
Check Presentation- Pictured Left to Right: Tony Pasour, Head of Interpretation at The Schiele Museum, Dr. Ann Tippitt, Executive Director at The Schiele Museum, John Forgan, senior vice president and area manager of Pinnacle Financial Partner’s Southern North Carolina region.

Pumpkin Patch is now open

Visitors to The Farm at The Schiele Museum can explore the science and culture of fall’s most iconic fruit – the pumpkin! The Pumpkin Patch program will lead visitors on a journey through the story of pumpkins from their origins, growth habits, nutrition and traditions surrounding their use.
The daily program includes a short walking tour of The Farm and an opportunity to select a pumpkin to take home at the end of the experience. There will also be a cool photo opportunity with an enormous pumpkin model, built by museum staff. The program runs through October 31, 2020.
“When you think of fall, you think of pumpkins,” shares Tony Pasour, head of interpretation at The Schiele. “Pumpkin influences are everywhere this time of year, from seasonal flavors to front-porch decorations. We want to provide an opportunity for people to have a fun time learning what’s behind all the fascination while enjoying a great day outdoors”.
The Pumpkin Patch at The Schiele Museum is presented by Pinnacle Financial Partners.
“We are excited to support this new program which will engage families from around the region,” commented JohnForgan, senior vice president and area manager for Pinnacle’s Southern North Carolina region. “The Schiele Museum is a treasure in our community, and Pinnacle Financial Partners are proud to partner with them.”
There’s more to see at The Farm than just pumpkins. Visitors can meet live animals including goats, chickens, honey bees and pigs. The Farm also features a dairy cow simulator that can be “milked”, a hay-play play area, heritage equipment, and gardens featuring seasonal crops.
“The Pumpkin Patch is one of the many seasonal programs we offer at The Farm,” said Pasour. “The Schiele is fortunate to have the support of Pinnacle Financial Partners to bring this month-long program to The Farm. Through this and all of our programs, we want to inspire our community to learn more. We hope they’ll take their pumpkins home, remember the fun they had, and maybe even plant their own pumpkin next summer.”
The Pumpkin Patch will be a fun, fall activity for families and friends where they can explore while they learn. Tickets for the Pumpkin Patch are $7 for non-members ages 3 years+, and are $5 for Schiele Members 3 years+. Tickets must be purchased in advance and are available online at For more information, please visit or follow The Schiele Museum on social media.

Gaston Schools grab and go meals program update

Gaston County Schools is now using buses to deliver “grab and go” meals on weekdays to neighborhood locations across the county. See the chart above for locations and times.
In addition to the neighborhood locations, the district is continuing to serve “grab and go” meals at 41 school sites from 12:00 – 1:00 p.m. each weekday. Visit the link for a list of school sites:
The meals are free for children ages 1-18 years, and children are not required to be present to receive a meal. You may pick up at the location that is most convenient for you.

Public schools now able to implement Plan A for elementary schools

After several weeks of stable COVID-19 trends and continued low virus spread in school settings, Governor Roy Cooper has announced that beginning on October 5, North Carolina public school districts and charter schools can choose to implement Plan A for elementary schools (grades K-5). Plan A continues to include important safety measures like face coverings for all students, teachers and staff, social distancing, and symptom screening, but does not require schools to reduce the number of children in the classroom.
“We are able to open this option because most North Carolinians have doubled down on our safety and prevention measures and stabilized our numbers,” said Governor Roy Cooper. “North Carolinians are doing the hard work to improve our numbers and trends. Many people are wearing masks, keeping social distance and being careful to protect others as well as themselves. We have shown that listening to the science works. And I’m proud of our resolve.”
As the Governor announced in July, every district will continue to have flexibility to select Plan A, B or C based on their unique needs. In addition, districts should still provide an option for families to select all remote learning for their students.
Dr. Mandy Cohen, Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services shared an update on North Carolina’s data trends. Dr. Cohen explained that North Carolina has seen a sustained leveling or decrease of key metrics.
“Our trends show that we are on the right track. It’s up to all of us to protect our progress. Our individual actions like those 3 Ws will help keep our school doors open.,” said Secretary Cohen.
Dr. Cohen also explained that as schools have opened, the current science shows that younger children are less likely to become infected, have symptoms, experience severe disease or spread the virus.
“It’s great news today that we are a step closer to providing the option of in-person learning to families who want their children to return to school,” said Superintendent of Public Instruction Mark Johnson. “While the Governor, the State Board of Education, and I have our differences, I join with them today to encourage local school board members to take advantage of this change and open all schools safely. I thank the many parents and teachers across North Carolina who have been vocal advocates on this important issue.”
“For the past 6 months, superintendents, principals, teachers and local BOE have worked diligently to care for the safety of our students and staff while educating our children. While we are anxious to return all students, we know that teachers, principals, and students need a gradual transition over the next 3 months. I ask our parents to remain patient, knowing that we are moving as quickly as is safely possible. And I ask our teachers to continue to assist our students by supporting this deliberate, thoughtful transition,” said  Eric Davis, Chairman of the State Board of Education.
Help Keep Belmont Beautiful

Keep Belmont Beautiful needs volunteers

The past 6 months have been stressful, and we at Keep Belmont Beautiful have missed being a part of everyday life here in town. As an affiliate of Keep America Beautiful, this year we are promoting the national effort “The Great American Cleanup”. We will be holding a “virtual” Big Sweep using the hashtag #CleanYourBlock.
Representatives from KBB will be in front of the Fighting Yank on Main Street in Belmont on Saturday morning, October 3rd, 2020 from 9am until 11am.
We will be handing out bags, gloves and trash pickers to individuals and groups. We will be assigning areas, or if your neighborhood needs picking up, let us know where that may be. We are encouraging everyone to go out safely and pick up the areas that need attention.
As you fill your bags, tie them up and leave them on the side of the road you have cleaned. Let us know where they are and we will have them picked up.
Please snap photos of your filled bags, and email them to us, or text them to 704-451-2458. When you are done, please return the picker tongs and gloves back to Stowe Park by 11:30 that day.
You can let us know how many bags you have filled via email to or leave a text message only at 704-451-2458.

Davis Park gets new equipment

This brand new playground equipment was being installed last week at Davis Park in Belmont. Larry Ellington Services out of Mt. Pleasant, N.C. was handling the job.  Photos by Alan Hodge

McAdenville to scale down Christmas events

There will be a Christmas Town USA 2020 in McAdenville. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic it will be on a limited basis.
The schedule- Lights will be on each night from December 1 - December 26, weeknights and weekends, 5:30 - 10:00 PM.
There will likewise be other changes to Christmas Town USA 2020 so that this event may be celebrated safely, responsibly and within CDC guidelines. Cancelled events- the tree lighting ceremony, the Yule log ceremony. The Christmas Town 5-K will be virtual this year.
Lights in the common areas of town-Trees will be lit in the downtown area from the Pharr Family YMCA on Main Street (N.C. Highway # 7) to the Spruced Goose Restaurant on Wesleyan Drive (near the lake).
Areas with no lights- Areas where the public has historically congregated will not be lit such as the Christmas Town lake.
Churches, organization and homeowners will not distribute refreshments or create photo opportunities.
Homes- With the scaled down version of Christmas town USA 2020, some homeowners may choose not to decorate. This will be at their discretion.
If you visit, and choose to walk thru, please respect homeowners and stay on the sidewalks.
Shop and dine while visiting Christmas Town- Merchants in town will be open as usual.
For more information  visit

Community Relief Organization News...

September is Hunger Action Month. It is a time to call attention to our neighbors in need and take action on the hunger crisis. Before COVID-19, America was home to families facing hunger, and the pandemic has increased those numbers. Those who seek help from our food bank, the largest in the area, may be your family members, your longtime friends, your next door neighbors...some you never knew needed help.
Our mission is to address this crisis through nutritional and/or financial assistance, treating each family we encounter with dignity and respect. Most of our food and financial contributions come from individuals; people like you. If you are in a position to give, please know that we appreciate your partnership, as does each family who receives your help. You can donate by clicking the “Donate Today” button below or see the “Ways to Give” section for other donation methods.
COVID-19 Operational Updates
We continue to maintain our COVID-19 operational adjustments. Once you arrive, please stay with your vehicle until a volunteer can sign you in. If you are bringing a donation, we will be able to collect it outside. We are committed to serving our community while also keeping our volunteers and staff safe. Clients need to sign in by 11:45 a.m.
CRO Current Needs- canned fruit, boxed cereal, canned soups (except “cream of” soups).  A PB&J sandwich is a classic delight for kids of all ages! Protein makes peanut butter a great lunch or snack item, and the jelly adds a sweet bit o’ fun. We get WAY more donations of PB than J, and often run low or run out, so the pair makes an awesome donation. Also, we take Sun Butter since we do serve families with peanut or tree nut allergies.
Schedule Changes- With Labor Day behind us, we have updated the dates that we’ll be closed in observance of various holidays: November 11th (Veterans Day), November 26th (Thanksgiving Day), December 24th - 31st (Christmas Break).
Visit Our Website- A lot of frequently asked questions are answered at If you can’t find something you need, let us know and we’ll get you that information.
The Gaston County Museum, Dallas, has a new exhibit on display entitled The Bible and Gaston County. The exhibit will run September 15 - November 27, 2020 in the Gathering Room Gallery.

Gaston Museum new exhibit

The Gaston County Museum, Dallas, has a new exhibit on display entitled The Bible and Gaston County. The exhibit will run September 15 - November 27, 2020 in the Gathering Room Gallery.
 Religion played an integral role in the history and development of Gaston County. As the textile industry began to shape the county and mill villages were forming, churches became a central gathering point for the community. From the 1940s onward, as mills began to shut down, several churches within those mill communities closed their doors. Despite this, religion has continued to have a strong presence in Gaston County with over 100 active churches in the area today.
 The Bibles and documents presented in the exhibit come from the museum’s permanent collection, and on loan from Belmont Abbey College, and St. Helen’s church in Gastonia. The exhibit showcases how the Bible, churches, and the communities surrounding them had a tremendous impact in the development of Gaston County. We invite you to view some of the oldest Bibles in Gaston County, learn about the history of the family Bible, and explore what the Bible represented to the diverse communities of faith.
The Bible and Gaston County exhibit will be on view during the hours, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 10am-5pm. Visit to reserve your free tickets.

Arts on the Greenway sharing program

Talk about a Win - Win proposition!! Arts on the Greenway is now offering its Share the Art program to local businesses, offices and Restaurants! They have two Share the Art displays up now - the Share the Art display featuring watercolors by Stephanie McLaughlin at Catawba Coffee in Mt. Holly and the Share the Art display featuring acrylics by Carlos Cotera at Jack Beagles Restaurant also in Mt. Holly. Come see the art in person. Or if you’re interested in loaned art for your office or place of business, please contact Sara Graham at

Girls On The Run Receives Check

Deborah Baxa  (left) recently presented a check to Tyler Sprinkle (right), Girls On The Run Program Manager, from the fundraiser sponsored by Camelot Meadows on August 9th.
Photo provided

Belmont Parks and Rec. suicide program

The Belmont Parks & Recreation Department will be hosting a free Virtual Suicide Prevention Workshop on Friday September 25th from 4 pm till 5:30 pm. The Partners Group and Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Advocate Fonda Bryant will address the current climate and its effect on mental health. They will provide information and resources on mental illness and suicide prevention.  Participants will be able to interact with facilitators during the workshop.   For more information go to the website or email

Arts Mt. Holly event...

Arts Mount Holly, part of the Mount Holly Community Development Foundation, is sponsoring its second annual Plein Air Paint Out titled “Fall Palette”.
Local artists and students from the Mount Holly, Gaston County, and greater Charlotte metro areas will be out and around the city of Mount Holly, painting in “plein air” (outdoors) starting Thursday, September 24th through Saturday, September 26th, 3pm. The public is welcome to find artists and observe their work in progress (wearing masks and following social-distancing guidelines).
Some of the locations where you might find artists include:
Downtown Mount Holly,  Mount Holly Community Garden126 N Main Street, Mount Holly Farmers Market (Saturday morning only) 226 S Main Street, Mountain Island Dam & Mountain Island Park At Mount Holly Trail, 304 Mountain Island Road, Tailrace Marina, 1000 Marina Village Drive, Tuckaseege Park & Greenway, 165 Broome Street.
At the end of the Paint Out, the work of artists and students will be judged by artist Kate Worm and prizes will be awarded. The public will have a chance to preview the artwork fresh-off-the-easel at the Mount Holly Farmer’s Market at 226 S Main Street from 1-1:30pm on September 27th. Prizes will be announced at 1:30pm and immediately followed by the Wet Paint Sale (and yes, the paint may still be wet) until 4pm. In case of inclement weather, the announcements and sale will be moved to Arts on the Greenway at 500 E. Central Ave.
All proceeds from the sales, excluding taxes and transaction fees, will go directly to the artists.
For more information and updates on the Wet Paint Sale location, please visit Arts Mount Holly on Facebook at

Local libraries getting makeovers

Renovations are underway at the Mt. Holly, Dallas, and Stanley branches of the Gaston County Public Libary. The work is expected to be completed in October.
The Mt. Holly branch closed in March for its renovations. The interior now has new furniture, a new circulation desk, new carpet, and new paint. The exterior of the building is also being renovated.
The Dallas and Stanley branches are also undergoing mayor renovations. Both libraries will receive updated carpet, flooring, paint, fixtures, and furniture. The county is also upgrading the exteriors.

Good News from Gaston County Schools

The following “good news” was presented to the Gaston County Board of Education for the months of July and August 2020.
The Gaston County Schools Communications Department won a 2020 Golden Achievement Award from the National School Public Relations Association.  The award recognizes the “Big 50 Employee Talent Show” as an exemplary public relations program.
Resa Hoyle, the beginning teacher support coordinator for Gaston County Schools, has been appointed by Governor Roy Cooper to serve as a member of the Gaston College Board of Trustees.
W.A. Bess Elementary received a $1,000 donation from DCOTA, a commercial construction and landscaping company.  The company also provided weeding and mulching services at the school.
Gaston Early College High School students Landry McBee, Autumn Kirby, Najira Davis, and Aaliyah Cherry have been accepted into the “Pirate Promise” admissions program at East Carolina University.
Gaston Early College High School student Najira Davis was appointed to serve as president of the Student Government Association at Gaston College.  Joseph Wittmer was appointed to serve as a student government senator. 
McAdenville Elementary conducted a beautification day project to spruce up the campus before the start of school.  Volunteers from the McAdenville Woman’s Club planted flowers and completed other gardening tasks.
The Stuart W. Cramer High School Stagestruck Players presented principal Audrey Devine with a flag featuring the school seal on a purple background.  Theater teacher Chuck Stowe and students Alex Manley and Emily Harris were involved in making the special presentation possible.
Stuart W. Cramer High School senior Seth Sturgis earned full-time employment with Rochling Engineering Plastics.
The Page Primary PTO and the Pinewood Elementary PTO conducted beautification projects that involved a number of volunteers cleaning up the school grounds prior to the start of the new academic year.
Robinson Elementary received a donation of $2,500 from Zoe Wealth Management, Inc. in Charlotte to help pay for the school’s new online reading program, Learning A-Z. 
Sadler Elementary received 105 book bags filled with school supplies from Family Works.  In addition, the school received a new American flag from Robert Kurylak.
Sherwood Elementary received a donation of headphones and earbuds valued at $4,000 from First Presbyterian Church.  The school staff enjoyed a catered lunch and goodie bags provided by Parkwood Baptist Church.  The church also provided 50 book bags full of school supplies for students.  In addition, the school received a collection of school supplies from Myers Memorial Methodist Church, and volunteers from AT&T donated backpacks full of supplies for 50 students.
W.C. Friday Middle School is proud to offer construction technology this academic year as part of its Career and Technical Education curriculum.
Carson Carr of Forestview High School received the John Hunsucker Memorial Scholarship, which is awarded to a senior who exemplifies John Hunsucker’s motto of “Be a gentleman or lady first, a scholar second, and an athlete last.”
Bessemer City High School received a $1,500 donation from Dole Fresh Vegetables in Bessemer City.
The Hunter Huss High School JROTC chapter was recognized for raising the most money for the Salvation Army in the “Battle for the Bell” competition.
Dontavius Nash of Hunter Huss High School was named one of the area’s top football players in the WSOC-TV “Big 22 Players to Watch” recognition program.
Each week, Pleasant Ridge Elementary receives more than 20 food bags to give to families.  The food bags with nonperishable items are prepared by members of Epworth United Methodist Church.
Sherwood Elementary partnered with the middle school youth group from Parkwood Baptist Church to conduct a beautification project at the school.
Sadler Elementary custodian Gary Brooks took the initiative to address several maintenance and beautification projects while students and staff were away from school.  The projects included waxing floors, cleaning out closets, taking care of yard work, and sprucing up the entrance to the school.

Free lunch...

Great news from Gaston Schools Nutrition Department. All students will receive free lunch until December 31, 2020. Students will be given a choice of a hot option or choose the munch a lunch option which includes yogurt, graham crackers, cheese stick, raisins, and a juice box.
If you have questions, office hours are Monday-Friday from 8-3:30.
GCS photos

Gaston Christian School cross country athletes get busy!

Students at Gaston Christian School took part in a cross country meet last week (pictured). Everyone enjoyed the chance to get out on a beautiful day.


Town of Cramerton Phase 2.5 update

The Town of Cramerton has updated its list of openings and closures related to Phase 2.5 of the Governor’s orders.
These announcements and decisions are being made to coincide with the direction and recommendations of sanitary health and social distancing requirements per the “Phase 2.5 Order” for the State of North Carolina as well as safety additional precautions at Cramerton facilities.
Openings - Cramerton trails/ greenways and park green space are OPEN. Cramerton park shelters are OPEN. Cramerton park playgrounds are OPEN. Cramerton outdoor basketball court is OPEN. Cramerton park public restrooms are OPEN. (Note: public restrooms will be disinfected multiple times per day.)
Important Note: Please note that North Carolina requires continued COVID-19 compliance monitoring. Please remember to adhere to all posted signage regarding social distancing and group gatherings of no more than 50 people outside. Please note that if any rules are continuously violated or egregious activities such as vandalism occur, then these facilities will need to be closed for maintenance and safety reasons.
Closures - Cramerton Town Hall will remain CLOSED to the public until further notice. Cramerton staff will still be answering and responding to phone calls and other communication, so please feel free to call Town Hall as needed at 704-824-4337.
Other Cramerton indoor building facilities such as the C.B. Huss Recreation Complex are CLOSED until further notice EXCEPT for walk-in’s for camp/ programming payment and related information. Please note that masks are required to enter the facility.
The following link is to FAQ’s regarding Phase 2.5:

County reopens facilities

As the state of North Carolina moves into Phase 2.5 of COVID 19 protocols,  Gaston County announces it has reopened the outdoor fitness pavilion at Dallas Park and all playgrounds at County parks.
The County, thanks to the hard work of its Parks and Recreation staff, kept its parks open and maintained throughout COVID-19. Today’s move allows for playground equipment to be used by the public once again.
In addition, the Gaston County Museum reopened on Sept. 15, and will be open to the public on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. During the past several months, museum staff has been working to making the museum experience safe for visitors during COVID-19, along with preparing a brand-new exhibit.
Visitors to the museum will be required to wear masks, and the museum has placed signage that will help keep guests safely distanced, along with the use of timed reservations to limit the total number of guests inside the museum at any one time.
More information on reservations and new guidelines for enjoying the museum can be found at
Also  reopening is Gaston County’s Senior Center. Though the GCSC has been conducted social-distanced classes outside and virtually during the past several weeks, it re-opened the indoor wellness room and restarted classes by appointment only on Tuesday, September 8.
The facility will meet or exceed all requirements set out by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. The GCSC will take one-hour appointments for the wellness room and will close for a 15-minute cleaning between each appointment.
The classes currently meeting outside will be moved back indoors, but capped at a maximum of 20 people per class to allow for continued social distancing. An hour for deep cleaning will be the minimum standard between each class that meets indoors.
Those who wish to utilize the GCSC will have their temperatures checked before being allowed to enter the facility. Anyone with temperatures higher than 100.4 degrees will not be permitted to enter. Each person entering the building will also have to answer three questions as part of a health screening questionnaire – the same process used by County staff on a daily basis.
Masks will be mandatory for entry and exit of the building and for any time a person is not engaged in exercise.
To make an appointment to use the wellness room, the computer room, library or to sign up for a class, call (704) 922-2170.

NC Governor Cooper and Cohen meet with Dr. Birx

NC Governor Cooper and DHHS Secretary Mandy Cohen met with Dr. Deborah Birx in North Carolina last week. The Governor and Dr. Birx also participated together in the call with the White House Coronavirus Task Force, and the Governor spoke about the need for our elected leaders and candidates to lead by example on the campaign trail this fall by holding events with face coverings and social distancing.
In their meeting with Dr. Birx, the Governor and Secretary Cohen noted their appreciation for the opportunity to share how North Carolina has been responding to COVID-19 and how the state’s approach to slowly ease measures has helped distinguish it from others in the South who have faced greater setbacks. They discussed North Carolina’s multi-prong approach, which includes slowing the spread through prevention, knowing who has been exposed to COVID-19 through testing and tracing, and supporting people staying home when needed through isolation and quarantine supports.
Secretary Cohen and Governor Cooper also addressed the state’s efforts to protect people’s health in congregate care settings, such as nursing homes, through widespread testing and other measures. Dr. Birx offered her expertise, sharing lessons learned from other states, and offering to surge testing resources on college campuses.
The Governor requested additional federal support, including:  
Need national leaders to model effective prevention strategies, including the wearing of face coverings and social distancing – and to take these measures to protect North Carolinians when visiting the State. More testing over a longer period of time with a focus on community-led testing, proactive testing of K-12 staff in schools that are providing in-person instruction, and proactive surveillance at Institutes for Higher Education.
Increased allocations for reagents for health system laboratories.   
Details on the federal government’s inventory and distribution plans for Abbot Binax Now testing.    Additional funding for personal protective equipment and a halt on implementing new FEMA restrictions.
Timing on when detailed vaccine planning guidance would be issued as well as required reporting elements and a provider enrollment agreement.   
Additional funds to continue supporting child care programs.  
Extension of the Pandemic EBT program beyond September 30th and flexibility for students in hybrid (part remote and part in-person) learning environments.

Gaston County wins AARP Community Challenge grant

Three North Carolina Communities received special grants from AARP to help make those places better for people of all. The AARP Community Challenge grant program is part of the nationwide AARP Livable Communities initiative that helps communities make immediate improvements and jump-start long-term progress in support of residents of all ages.
The 2020 Community Challenge grant recipients have been working to make either permanent physical improvements in the community, temporary demonstrations that lead to long-term change and are building new, or are planning innovative programming and services.
 The AARP grant will improve Gastonia by creating a public pedestrian space that includes playful and educational sidewalk graphics as well as new flowerbeds and benches. The new space will increase both pedestrian safety and the area’s aesthetic experience. It will also encourages older residents, and the entire community, to become more physically active.
The public pedestrian space, one of several “pedestrian generators” will be on Garrison Boulevard flanked by the Gaston County Main Library and the Schiele Museum of Natural History. It will also include a sidewalk, transit shelter graphics, an amenities map.

Arts at the Abbey returns with live stream format

University of NC School of the Arts faculty Kevin Lawrence, violin, and Dmitri Schteinberg, piano, share Beethoven’s music as  the arts season begins at the Abbey. The September 21, 2020 concert will be held at 8:00 PM in the Abbey Basilica, Belmont, NC. Beside two Beethoven sonatas including the famous “Kreutzer”, the concert will also include a work by NC composer Kenneth Frazelle based on Appalachian tunes. The concert is free to the public though donations are gladly accepted.
There will be limited in-person attendance with masks and social distancing required. The college will also begin a livestream service with this concert which be found on the college’s website at
We hope this new service will broaden our audiences while allowing for people to stay safe at home and continue to be part of the Abbey Family.
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 Gaston Community Foundations, The Monks of Belmont Abbey and other private donors.
The Abbey Basilica, Belmont Abbey College just off of Exit 26 on I-85.For more information: Karen Hite Jacob. 704-461-6012, or

Tips for parents to help children have the best school year possible

With each new school year comes a new set of challenges and adjustments for students, teachers, and parents.  There are a number of things that parents can do to encourage children to put their best foot forward and get the most out of the school year.
Here are a few helpful tips about how parents can help their children achieve success both inside and outside of the classroom.  By taking advantage of these tips, parents can build a strong foundation for their children and help them to understand why getting a good education is so important.

At School
It is important for parents to build relationships with teachers and other school personnel who are working with their children and make sure they stay informed about what is happening at school.
Understanding a child’s behavior and attitude at school goes a long way in helping track a child’s progress during the school year.  When asking about a child’s academic performance, be sure to ask the teacher about behavior and attitude, too.  
Form a partnership with the child’s teacher to enhance student achievement.  It is important to have teacher/parent cooperation and support on an everyday basis.
Frequent communication with a child’s teacher makes it easier for parents and teachers to address a problem should one arise.
When speaking with the child’s teacher, make sure to ask the most important questions first.
Each semester has a period of adjustment.  Knowing a child’s strengths and weaknesses in the classroom helps to better understand his or her progress.  Fall is a great time to learn more about what might have an influence on a child’s academic progress.  In the spring, review the child’s progress and think toward the future about what can be done to provide summer enrichment opportunities for the child.

At Home
Make an active effort to pass on a feeling of excitement and enthusiasm for learning.
On a daily basis, parents should ask their children about what they learned at school.  Be specific with the questions and leave them open-ended.  Avoid yes or no questions.  Use what the children share to generate a conversation that is positive about school and their schoolwork. 
Lay the groundwork for habits that encourage learning at home like providing a place to study, setting aside specific time for reading and homework, and cutting out unnecessary distractions.
Give priority to a child’s academic interests and value other endeavors such as extracurricular activities and hobbies.
Instill a strong work ethic in the child and show pride in his or her academic growth and accomplishments.  Praise the child for efforts, not just results.
As a family, be sure that children know that learning is held in high regard.  Set standards and have high academic expectations.  Help children understand why education is important to their future.
Tips compiled by the Gaston County Schools Communications Department
Sources: N.C. Department of Public Instruction and N.C. School Boards Association

Gaston College recognizes staffers for 25 years of service

 Gaston College employees were recognized for 25 years of service at the College’s annual Employee Appreciation and Recognition Celebration in February. Each of them received a certificate and a $150 gift card. Those recognized were Donna English, Gail Hoyle, and Ed Stroup.
Donna English is the Chair of the Industrial Systems Technology program. Prior to joining Gaston College, she worked 13 years in industry and taught part-time as an adjunct instructor at Isothermal Community College for approximately six years. She then attended Western Carolina University to continue her education, earning her Bachelor of Science in Education and a Master’s in Technology. She also received her Ed.S. in Higher Education from Appalachian State University. In her program of study at Western Carolina, she met some instructors from Gaston College who told her about an opening for an instructor. She applied and was hired.
Her first position at Gaston College was as an instructor for Mechanical Drafting and Design Technology. After about six years she moved to the position of instructor for Industrial Maintenance.
At the College, English has served on the faculty senate, multiple hiring committees, and the curriculum committee. She served as the Industrial Division’s student success coach from 2014 to 2015 and attends yearly career fairs at local middle schools to promote the trade and industrial programs at Gaston College. Those activities contributed to her being named the 2006 Instructor of the Year for the Engineering and Industrial division, one of her proudest accomplishments.
 Gail Hoyle was a stay-at-home mother and wanted to start back to work part-time. At the suggestion of her husband Reggie, who worked at Gaston College as a part-time GED instructor, she joined Gaston College as a part-time secretary for the GED and Adult High School coordinators on the College’s Lincoln campus. She became a full-time employee in 1994. In 1996, she joined the Continuing Education department under the supervision of Dr. John Merritt, then the Director of Continuing Education.
From 2002 to 2004, Hoyle represented Gaston College as a member of the planning committee for the biannual North Carolina Community Colleges Adult Educators Association and helped plan workshops for spring and fall conferences. She joined the Economic Workforce Development division on the Dallas campus in 2011.
As a Grounds Technician, Ed Stroup performs all the necessary tasks to maintain the grounds at the College’s main campus and satellite locations. This includes maintenance of lawns, plants, trees, parking lots, roadways, and other areas of the campuses. He has been in the Grounds Department since he joined Gaston College in 1994.
Well known for his consistency and commitment, Stroup is one of the many staffers who “wakes up the campus” every morning, regardless of weather or other conditions such as the COVID-19 pandemic.
Stroup has seen many changes on the College’s three campuses in 25 years, such as new construction, expansions, and upgrades. Through it all, he has gone about his job not looking for recognition or attention and preferring to be a “get ‘er done” type of person.
His quarter-century of hard work and dedication have made him a valuable, important, significant, and appreciated staff member and his service has great meaning to the staff, faculty, and students at Gaston College.

Gaston College Counseling Center is open

The staff of the Gaston College Counseling Center is available to assist students who may be struggling with career path choices or other personal issues, such as depression, anxiety, or domestic violence, or who have concerns about accessibility on the College’s campuses. Students can make appointments to meet with counselors either over the phone, in-person (following social distancing guidelines), or virtually.
The counseling staff on the College’s Dallas campus consists of Sherri Chavis, who provides career counseling, including advice on career inventories and exploration, personal counseling and general advising, and ZaMyra Dow-Shaw who advises on accessibility services and accommodations for students with special needs and also provides personal counseling and general advising. Shamere Carpenter provides personal counseling and general advising, and she supports accessibility services and career counseling on the Lincoln campus. Students on the Kimbrell campus in Belmont should consult with the Dallas campus counselors.
Providing Gaston College students with the assistance they need is the counselors’ priority. “One of the best resources we have on campus is Student Outreach Services,” said Damon Murray who, as Director of Student Success and Retention, oversees the counseling staff. “This is a service, paid for out of student fees, that provides confidential counseling services with local, licensed clinicians. SOS also has legal, budget, and other resources available on the website. We also connect students with the campus food bank and with financial resources, like Financial Aid, Student Emergency Assistance Program, and Finish Line Grant. There are so many resources available and our counselors work hard to get our students connected to the appropriate ones.”
To schedule a confidential appointment with the Gaston College counseling staff, call 704-922-6220 or email

Young receives Journalism Education Fellowship 

Congratulations to Ashbrook High School teacher Samantha Young. For the second consecutive year, she received a Journalism Education Fellowship from the N.C. Scholastic Media Association and the UNC-Chapel Hill Hussman School of Journalism and Media. The fellowship provides in-state tuition for three hours of graduate-level credit in the scholastic media or journalism field. In addition, Mrs. Young earned her Certified Journalism Educator from the Journalism Education Association.

East Belmont Baptist invitation

Our politicians say this year’s election is a defining moment for our country. They say it’s about the heart and soul of our nation. Many Christians believe the church is facing a defining moment as we learn to adapt to the challenges of Covid-19. Teachers, students, and parents are facing a defining moment when it comes educating our children.
   By definition, the term “Defining Moments” means the time when decisions are made that defines who a person is, what a person values, and the direction a person’s life will go.  Unlike special moments such as graduations, purchasing a house, receiving a reward, defining moments shape a person’s identity and destiny.
In the Bible we find that Abram had a defining moment when he decided to obey God by leaving his country and people for a land God had promised to give him. Moses had his defining moment at a burning bush. After his initial resistance, he finally went to Egypt and lead the Hebrew people out of bondage.  The disciples defining moment came when they accepted Christ’s invitation to follow him.
In every case, those who believed, accepted, and obeyed the voice of God had a defining moment in life. Their life was given new meaning and they were never the same. Somewhere, somehow, someway, everyone will have a defining moment.  The most defining moment of all is when God speaks truth to our hearts and reveals His love for us in His Son Jesus. This is a moment of decision. This decision to trust and follow Jesus is the most defining moment of all.  
You are invited to East Belmont Baptist Church on Sunday September 27 at 10am.  We will hear the stories of three individuals who experienced a defining moment in their life and how God lead them to a life of meaning as they trusted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.

Living in Christ
Pastor Jeff Taylor
East Belmont Baptist Church

Good News from Gaston Early College High School

Here’s some good news from the Gaston Early College High School. Students Landry McBee, Autumn Kirby, Najira Davis, and Aaliyah Cherry have been accepted into the “Pirate Promise” admissions program at East Carolina University.
The Pirate Promise program is designed to improve transfer student access and success by allowing prospective students to apply to participating community colleges such as Gaston College and ECU at the same time. Once they compete an associate degree at Gaston College, they can then transfer into a degree-completion program at ECU. In addition, Najira Davis was appointed to serve as president of the Student Government Association at Gaston College and Joseph Wittmer was appointed to serve as a student government senator.

City updates fire hydrants

You may have noticed some hydrants across Mt. Holly are no longer red. The city is in the process of cleaning and repainting the hydrants  to a brighter yellow color. The process will take two years to complete. The hydrant shown in the photo has been sandblasted and will be painted yellow within the next few weeks.    MHFD photo

Shining Hope Farms golf tournament

Shining Hope Farms equine therapy facility will be having its first annual golf tournament at Verdict Ridge Golf Course and Country Club, 7332 Kidville Rd., Denver on October 5, 2020.
Registration will be at 9:30am, shotgun start at 11am, tournament ends at 4pm.
There will be dinner, awards, and silent auction at 5pm onsite at Guilties Bistro. Lunch, dinner, and silent auction included.
For more information or to register visit

The Schiele Museum reopens

The Schiele Museum will reopen to the public on Friday, September 11th with limited hours and reduced visitor capacity. This will abide by the Governor’s 2.5 phased “Safer at home” order and allow time for sanitizing and disinfecting the facility. The museum will be open for visitors Monday – Saturday 10 AM to 3 PM and Sundays 1 to 4 PM.
The museum operational hours are subject to change due to unforeseen circumstances. Tickets will be sold for two separate time periods each day; morning tickets are good for 10 AM – 12:30 PM and afternoon tickets are for 12:30 – 3 PM. Sunday tickets are available for 1 – 4 PM only. Advance tickets are required and available at  Schiele members are able to reserve their tickets for the members-only preview earlier in the week via the website at addition to being open to the public on September 11, the museum will continue to offer their Science Club program for firs t through fifth graders.
The Schiele Museum responded to the community need for an all-day, engaging educational opportunity for families that need a remote learning option for their children. Science Club is designed to meet new guidelines for health and safety while also providing participants with enriching science, cultural, art and outdoor activities within a full-day schedule that will meet the needs of families.
For more information, please visit or follow The Schiele Museum on social media.
Montcross Chamber photo

Montcross Area Chamber Welcomes Twisted Sugar NC to Belmont

The Montcross Area Chamber had the pleasure of welcoming new member and new business
Twisted Sugar NC to Belmont with a ribbon cutting celebration last week. Stop by Twisted Sugar NC located at 7 N. Main Street in Belmont for a delicious gourmet cookie and a custom soda.                                                                                                   
Mrs. Thornburg‘s fourth grade class at Gaston Christian School

Gaston Christian School

These children in Mrs. Thornburg‘s fourth grade class at Gaston Christian School had fun when they took their books and did some reading outside under the shade of a tree.
Mrs. Renfroe’s second grade class at Gaston Christian School

Gaston Christian School

It was a sweet time last week in Mrs. Renfroe’s second grade class at Gaston Christian School. The kids enjoyed Klondike bars as a treat for ending the first of school successfully, thanks to Mrs. Jennings!

City of Mt. Holly/Red Cross blood drive

The City of Mt. Holly will team up with the Red Cross for a blood drive on Wednesday, September 16, 2020 at 10 AM – 2:30 PM at the Municipal Center, 400 E Central Ave, Mt Holly.
Understandably, there is a shortage of blood due to complications arising from COVID-19. This drive is important which is why the City will continue with hosting it amid the current health scare.
Red Cross is also providing all donors with the antibody test for COVID-19, so there is expected to be a higher volume of foot traffic in comparison to past blood drives.
Both the Council Chambers and the Training Room will be used to accommodate for 6 ft. social distancing between beds. Donors will be seated in the Grand Hall where there is enough room for social distancing as well. Red Cross will be taking the temperatures of all donors prior to entering the building.
Please keep in mind that although citizens may enter the building for the blood drive, you will not be able to handle City business as the building is still closed to the public in that respect.
Team members from Our Lady of Guadalupe leading the 2019 Walk.

House of Mercy Annual Walk for AIDS is Sept. 12

House of Mercy will host its 27th Annual Walk for AIDS on Saturday, September 12, 2020, using a virtual platform for the first time in the history of the event.
House of Mercy is a nonprofit organization that provides compassionate care for low-income people living with HIV/AIDS. 100% of the funds raised from this year’s virtual Walk will directly support those living with HIV who receive services through House of Mercy.
This year’s fundraising goal is $50,000. Walkers of all ages are invited to take part by registering, creating a team, and/or collecting donations in support of their Walk. Individuals and teams from churches, civic groups, schools, and other community organizations are welcome.
Registration for the event includes a Walk packet (with a t-shirt) and more information on how to join in and interact with House of Mercy on the day of the event. Register by September 1st to receive your Walk packet prior to the event day.
Visit to learn more, register for the event, and find out how you can get involved.
Founded in 1991 by the Sisters of Mercy, House of Mercy has provided compassionate residential care services for individuals living with HIV/AIDS for nearly 30 years. This year, in addition to the residential care home, House of Mercy is expanding its service array to include nonresidential supports through the House of Mercy Bridge Program for those in the community living with HIV. The mission of House of Mercy is to provide hope, healing, and a home for persons living with HIV in the greater-Charlotte area. For more information, visit
Mt. Holly Police Dept. Books and Badges school supplies drive.

Mt. Holly PD Successful Books and Badges School Supplies Drive

Hats off to the Mt. Holly Police Dept. and the successful Books and Badges school supplies drive they organized and carried out. Another great example of community caring and coming together.

Child care hotline

Families and caregivers in need of child care for children up to age 12 can call the child care hotline at 1-888-600-1685 to be connected directly to care options in their community that meet their families’ needs.
“We know that families may need extra help finding school-age care options right now, as many schools have started the school year with remote learning only, and others are operating with children onsite on alternate days or weeks to meet social distancing requirements,” said Susan Gale Perry, Chief Deputy Secretary for NCDHHS. “The Child Care Hotline can help families fill that child care gap by providing referrals to available school-age programs.”
The hotline is open Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. It is a collaboration of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) and the North Carolina Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R) network. Care will be offered by licensed child care providers who agree to meet NCDHHS health and safety guidelines.
For more information about child care during COVID-19, visit

Duke Energy plans continued assistance for NC customers in need

 Duke Energy will begin its standard billing practices in North Carolina in the coming weeks, keeping service disconnections for nonpayment suspended until October 2020, a full month beyond its required moratorium. North Carolina customers who are experiencing financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic will have until October to pay overdue balances or make payment arrangements.
Beginning in September, those who need additional time to pay any outstanding balance will be able to establish flexible payment plans with no down payment required. Additionally, Duke Energy will continue to waive late fees until further notice.
The company also urges eligible customers to take advantage of available financial support through the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services’ Crisis Intervention Program and Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) funds available through statewide community action agencies.

Belmont gets Carolina Thread Trail grant

In mid-July, the Carolina Thread Trail Governing Board awarded $391,000 in trail implementation grants for projects along the Thread Trail. This funding comes at a critical time, with residents flocking to greenways and trails as an alternative to typical crowded social settings during the COVID-19 pandemic. Now more than ever, communities are looking to expand outdoor recreation opportunities for their residents, including trails.
The Thread Trail’s Implementation Grant Program provides funding to communities and nonprofit organizations to support projects in trail construction, design, land acquisition and corridor planning. Over the past 10 years, the Thread Trail has awarded over $6.9 million in catalytic grants to communities throughout the 15-county region in North and South Carolina. Currently 300 miles of greenways and trails, as well as 170 miles of blueways, are open to the public within the Thread Trail system.
Local grants included:
City Of Belmont - $25,000-  Funds will assist in the design of the 1.2-mile Abbey Creek Greenway connecting to the Catawba River at Kevin Loften Park.
City Of Gastonia - $45,000  This grant will assist in the construction of the Catawba Creek Greenway extension within the City of Gastonia, extending the Avon-Catawba Greenway by ½ mile, resulting in a total length of nearly three miles. This Catawba Creek corridor will eventually connect downtown Gastonia to the Seven Oaks Trail near the Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens in Belmont.
Cleveland County Water District - $40,000 Funds will be used to acquire a key piece of riverfront property to help facilitate the future construction of over three miles of natural surface trail in north-central Cleveland County, including a hiking and biking trail with kayak access.
City Of Shelby - $75,000 Grant will fund the construction of a new bicycle and pedestrian suspension bridge over the First Broad River on the two-mile First Broad River Trail, replacing a bridge destroyed by flooding and improving bridge access for both cyclists and hikers.
Catawba Lands Conservancy - $40,000 Funding will assist in the acquisition of an 89-acre property located in eastern Lincoln County, which will allow for a one-mile extension of the existing Forney Creek Trail. The acquisition will enable a trail extension to Business Route 16 and create an opportunity for a public trailhead.
Tar Heel Trailblazers - $38,000  Funding to assist in the construction of a 3,315 ft. unpaved shared-use pathway, the first trail linking Belmont to Cramerton, via the Rocky Branch Mountain Bike Park.
For more information, visit or contact Carolina Thread Trail Director, Bret Baronak at 704-376-2556 ext. 216 or
Kudos to GEMS staffer Dawn Lackey on her promotion to Lieutenant. Pictured here, her sister is pinning her badge. Congratulations Lieutenant Lackey! GEMS photo

Congratulations to Lieutenant Lackey

Kudos to GEMS staffer Dawn Lackey on her promotion to Lieutenant. Pictured here, her sister is pinning her badge. Congratulations Lieutenant Lackey!
Lori Hupp, Faculty Senate President and Dr. Dewey Dellinger, Vice President of Academic Affairs congratulates Calvin Shaw after receiving the 2020 Gaston College Instructor of the Year Award. 

Calvin Shaw is Gaston College’s Instructor of the Year

 Calvin Shaw, Chair of the Criminal Justice and Paralegal Technology programs at Gaston College, was named the 2020 Instructor of the Year. The announcement was made at the College’s Employee Appreciation Ceremony in February.
Shaw won the Faculty Excellence Award for Divisional Instructor of the Year, representing the Business and Information Technology division. Other Faculty Excellence Awards were presented to Dr. Virginie Maggiotti for Arts and Sciences, Rama Olson for Engineering Technologies, Kelly Vass for Health and Human Services, and Doug Mabry for Industrial Technologies.
In 2004, Shaw began teaching as an adjunct faculty member at Gaston College. Prior to that, he had been teaching in the College’s Basic Law Enforcement Training program. He became a full-time instructor in August 2010.
“I was a full-time Captain with the Gaston County Police Department and had always planned that one day I would teach college,” Shaw said. “The opportunity presented itself in 2010, and I decided to make the change.” At that time, he had been an active duty police officer since 1984, and he is currently a reserve officer with the Gaston County Police.
“Calvin makes criminal justice relevant and interesting to students, drawing heavily from his vast experience in the criminal justice field. And, he genuinely cares about his students, which helps guide them towards success,” said Lisa Albright-Jurs, Associate Dean of the Business and Information Technology Division.
 “Knowledge and service is what I would like for every student to take away from these programs,” Shaw said. “In both fields, Criminal Justice and Paralegal, practitioners will be dealing with people who are facing a difficult time. When the student is able to work in their field, I want them to remember to use their knowledge and remember it is about service to the individual. Remembering the knowledge and service commitment to others is the first step in making a positive change for others.”
 When asked about his reaction to being recognized as Instructor of the Year, Shaw replied, “I think the best word for me to describe how I felt was humbled. With so much experience and talent in the faculty and staff of Gaston College, I was humbled to know that I was selected for the award.”
 The Covid-19 pandemic has required changes in the way classes are being taught and Shaw’s programs are not unaffected. “For the Criminal Justice and Paralegal programs, we were fairly lucky, as we had made the most of online instruction prior to the pandemic,” he said. “Paralegal had to adjust a bit, due to requirements from the N.C. Bar Association. The Forensic Science program had to move to a more online program for a semester, but it was fairly smooth. All in all, we were in pretty good shape.”
 Faculty and staff have had the second half of the spring semester and all of the summer semester to make preparations for the upcoming fall semester. Rushing to make adjustments for spring and summer was a bit more difficult. “But students were terrific, and the faculty and staff came through, and I am sure it will be pretty much the same in the fall,” said Shaw. “Forensic Science will have some online and hybrid classes, and Criminal Justice will be totally online. Paralegal will have hybrid and seated classes in the fall.”
 Shaw is enthusiastic about the educational opportunities that Gaston College offers to prospective students. “One of the biggest reasons that students should choose Gaston College for their start in the Criminal Justice/Paralegal programs is the experience of the faculty,” he said. “Every faculty member in both programs has actually worked in the profession in which they are teaching. Experience cannot be gained in the classroom, but you can learn from it there. This insight given by experienced instructors into how students’ education will be utilized in their careers is invaluable.”
 He continued, “Another reason is the flexibility of the program. A few semesters ago, the programs began to offer accelerated courses that are eight weeks in length instead of the normal 16 weeks. This means that in some cases, students may be able to finish their Associate degree in less than two years.”
 To Shaw, Gaston College represents a strong community that supports all its constituents—students, faculty and staff. “Being selected as Instructor of the Year is a wonderful honor. But I would not have been able to even be considered for this award without the help of many other people at the College,” he said. “I am forever grateful for others who have guided my continuing journey in education and my quest for more knowledge.
 “I am also thankful for the opportunity to serve the students at Gaston College,” he added. “Being part of their educational journey is an honor. If you think about it, you have the opportunity to change a student’s future, and I want that change to be positive, based on knowledge and the idea of service to others.”
 For more information about the Gaston College Criminal Justice and Paralegal Technology programs, go to or contact Calvin Shaw at, or 704-922-6270. 
Molly Tessnear

Molly Tessnear honored

Here’s a “shout out” to Hunter Huss High School teacher Molly Tessnear.
She received a Journalism Education Fellowship from the N.C. Scholastic Media Association and the UNC-Chapel Hill Hussman School of Journalism and Media. The fellowship provides in-state tuition for three hours of graduate-level credit in the scholastic media or journalism field.
In addition to serving as an English teacher, Ms. Tessnear is the school’s yearbook adviser. The Hunter Huss yearbook was featured this spring in a national webinar that focused on the topic “Going Beyond: Your Levels of Creativity.” The webinar presenters highlighted the yearbook staff’s excellent feature design about the coronavirus.
Congratulations, Ms. Tessnear, for earning the Journalism Education Fellowship and inspiring your students to pursue excellence in their work!

Tri-County Animal Rescue: Pets of the Week

This big girl is Delilah.  She is a Great Dane and Labrador Retriever mix.  Delilah is 2 years old and weighs about 80 pounds.  She is looking for a home with no small children….only adults and teens.  Delilah wants all the attention and refuses to share.  She is fully house trained and crate trained.  Delilah is spayed, current on vaccines and micro-chipped.  Come out and ask for Delilah.
This is Odie.  He is 8 months old and is about 20 pounds.  Odie is part Beagle and part Jack Russell Terrier.  He has LOTS of energy and loves to play.  Odie would love to have a fenced yard and another dog to play with.  Odie can be shy at first meeting you but warms up quickly.  Odie is neutered, current on vaccines, heartworm negative and micro-chipped.  Come meet this boy in person and you will fall in love.3.
This big girl is Leila.  She is a Boxer mix and weighs about 65-70 pounds.  She have a beautiful brown coat with just a little white.  Leila has a few trust issues with strange men.  She has to warm up to any new man.  Leila is spayed, current on vaccines, heartworm negative and micro-chipped.
This big boy is Chase.  He is a 3 year old Boxer mix.  Chase is a wonderful young man that needs a loving family to open their home to him.  His first years were not good ones and he was at a local kill shelter.  Chase plays well with other dogs and would be good with kids.  PLEASE give Chase a chance.  Chase is neutered, current on vaccines, heartworm negative and micro-chipped. 
 If you are looking for an addition to your family, please come out and meet our adoptable pets this weekend.  Many pets will be at the Gastonia PetSmart located at 3698 East Franklin Boulevard this Saturday noon to 4 pm.
 About Tri-County Animal Rescue
Tri-County Animal Rescue is a non-profit organization serving Lincoln, Gaston and other surrounding counties. We are committed to ending pet homelessness in this area and we need your continued support.  If you cannot adopt a pet, then support Tri-County in other ways. We need volunteers and donations to continue our mission of finding homes for these unwanted animals. Please help Tri-County Animal Rescue continue to save pets by adopting your next pet this weekend?  Our “needs” list includes:  towels, Clorox, laundry detergent, paper towels, dry dog food and dry cat food.
Due to COVID-19, our adoption process has changed.  However, we will be in PetSmart this Saturday with our pets from noon to 4 pm.  Please come out and visit!  We have missed you!.  
For more information, call 704.263.2444, send an email to  or on FaceBook at Tri-County Animal Rescue.  Donations can be sent to Tri-County Animal Rescue, PO Box 483, Alexis, NC  28006.
School nutrition employee Melissa Wooten distributes a “grab and go” meal at Carr Elementary School. Through the Gaston County Schools “grab and go” program, students who are involved in remote learning can pick up a breakfast and lunch meal at their home school.

‘Grab and Go’ meals available to students engaged in remote learning

Chief Communications Officer
Gaston County Schools

Students who are at school two days a week for in-person instruction will have breakfast and lunch meals served to them in their classrooms.  But, what about when students are engaged in remote learning at home?
To ensure that breakfast and lunch are available to all students, Gaston County Schools is ramping up its “grab and go” meal program.
Students involved in remote learning can pick up a breakfast/snack meal and a lunch meal at their home school.  Pickup times are 12:00 - 12:30 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday and from 12:00 - 1:00 p.m. on Wednesday.  An additional 30 minutes is allotted for pickup on Wednesday since all students are involved in remote learning on Wednesday.
The “grab and go” meal pickup will follow the same drive-up format as it has for the past several months.  Students/parents should drive to the front of the school and ask for a meal.  It can be delivered to the car; the student/parent should take the meal with them as no place will be available for eating on site.
Meals are free to students through August 31.  Beginning Tuesday, September 1, meal prices go into effect – this includes all meals delivered to classrooms and served during “grab and go.”  The prices are listed below:

Breakfast for all students:  $1.20
Lunch for elementary students:  $2.70
Lunch for middle school and high school students:  $2.80
Breakfast for school staff/adult guest:  $1.50
Lunch for school staff/adult guest:  $3.75
Students are given an opportunity to apply for reduced-price and free meals.  The application is available on the Gaston County Schools website (  Students/parents may obtain a printed copy from the school office or at the School Nutrition office.  For more information, call (704) 836-9110.

Belmont Parks and Rec. dance class signups

If you have tried to register for Belmont Parks and class online, you may have noticed there has been an ongoing issue with the website used for online registration.
Go to this registration site and register. Since the issue with the system is the payment, we will not be collecting payment at the time of registration,  payment will be taken at the first day of class. That way everyone can register for the class.
Email if you have any other questions or concerns.

Gaston College begins fall classes

The first day of fall classes started last week for Gaston College students with many taking online or hybrid classes. Smaller numbers of students, through the course of the day and early evening, arrived to take face-to-face classes at the Dallas, Lincolnton, and Belmont campuses.
As employees and students arrived on campus, they were directed to specific building entrances, where face mask and temperatures checks were conducted in keeping with the college’s safe plan to prevent the spread of Covid -19.
Enthusiastic campus greeters welcomed students back to the campus as they helped answered questions or gave directions to building locations. Students were encouraged to go to designated pick-up stations to receive a free backpack before heading to class. Each backpack contains a safety kit filled with hand sanitizer, face mask with filter, reusable forehead thermometer strips, first aid kit and tissues, Students also received a Gaston College T-shirt and ink pen. This fall, all students will receive a backpack sponsored by the Student Government Association, Student Life, and the College.
Gaston College President John Hauser warmly greeted students, faculty, and staff today as he visited classrooms and offices at all three campuses. He was extremely proud to see things running so smoothly.
“Gaston College students and employees are not allowing anything to overshadow their enthusiasm as we start the fall semester,” said President Hauser. “Today everyone cared for each other and worked together with the goal to keep everyone safe. I thank the Gaston College family for doing such a  tremendous job today.”

Gaston Schools remote learning information

Gaston County Schools has  received many questions about remote/virtual learning, and wants to share those answers.
Students will be trained on the SCHOOLOGY Platform the first week they attend school. It’s a very organized place for a variety of assignments. All links open within the platform, so there’s not a lot of clicking. SCHOOLOGY includes easy communication with students and families, and a gradebook for 3rd-5th grades.
A parent website and SCHOOLOGY help videos will be shared by the district.
Remote learning the first week of school will consist of suggested K-5 activities posted on our school website. This ensures that Cohort B students will not miss anything.
Assignments in SCHOOLOGY will begin the week of August 24th after all students have been trained and have had an opportunity to take home a device.
Cohort A students will complete self-paced remote learning W, Th, F.
Cohort B students will complete self-paced remote learning M, Tu, W.
Teachers will give feedback on all remote activities.
All students will be assigned a Chromebook at school. If you already have a device, you do not have to take a school device home. Students cannot bring their personal devices to school.
KBB members Martha Stowe (left) and Kay Ziemer cleaning up at the “Point” in Belmont.

Keeping up with Keep Belmont Beautiful

Belmont’s own Keep Belmont Beautiful has been slightly off the radar in these unusual times, ever since mid-March when they had to cancel the traditional school participation in Campus Beautification and Clean Campus programs.
However, the local non-profit is still at work around town. Perhaps the most obvious program is the ongoing main Street Flower Power Initiative that began in 2019. This group of volunteers weed, deadhead, and generally take care of the 32 planter boxes on both sides of Main Street from the Clock Tower down to the train tracks, as well as the large flower bed at the City of Belmont sign near the entrance of Stowe Park.
Keeping in mind all state and county mandates KBB was able to award the yearly Yard of the Month to local residences and businesses on a delayed basis and are making plans for an adjusted Fall Big Sweep. Volunteers have also done some targeted area trash pickups during this uncertain time. Keep Belmont Beautiful needs us all to be “eyes around town”. If a citizen sees an area that needs attention, let Keep Belmont Beautiful know by email to or by phone at704-825-8587.

Cato Homes appreciates its senior residents with luncheon

Cato Homes in Belmont held a nice lunchtime gathering last Friday for its senior citizen residents. Over 50 folks showed up and were treated to a box lunch as well as goodie bags containing items such as taffy, crackers, hand sanitizer, mints, flashlights, tissue, and more.

Cato Homes community manager Tammey Thomas welcomed the guests and showed them around one of the community’s great looking model homes.
“We wanted to hold the event as our way of saying thanks for being such great residents,” she said.
The lunch was held mindful of everyone’s health.

“We had box lunches so everyone could take theirs home and enjoy it,” said Thomas.

What to expect: Gaston County School parents and employees

Dear Parents
and Employees:

As a new academic year begins, we realize that you may have questions about what will happen if there is a confirmed case of COVID-19 at your child’s school.  This letter provides you with information about the process that a school will follow.
Protocol when there is a confirmed case at school
The following information outlines the steps that a school will follow when there is a confirmed case of COVID-19 at a school:
School officials will work closely with the Gaston County Department of Health and Human Services and follow guidance and procedures outlined by state and local public health officials.  Our local health department will handle the contact tracing process in a confidential manner and collaborate with the school on how to address the situation.
School administrators are committed to being factual and timely in their efforts to provide pertinent information to you.  The Parentlink communication system will be used to notify parents and employees by telephone and e-mail.  This is why it is important for you to have a current telephone number and e-mail address on file with the school.
In the event of an outbreak, it may be necessary for a school to shift to full remote learning for a certain period of time.  Be mindful that a change to full remote learning may have to be done quickly with less than a day’s notice.
Because of our obligation to protect the privacy of students and employees as required by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) federal laws, the school cannot release specific information about a confirmed case.  The names of the people affected and other personally identifiable information will be provided to public health officials in accordance with reporting requirements; however, this information will not be released to the public or the media.
Students, employees, parents, and others should refrain from sharing inaccurate information.  Please do not spread rumors as this may create panic, anxiety, and mistrust for your child’s school family.
Protocol when a student/employee exhibits symptoms
The following information outlines the steps that a school will follow when a student or employee exhibits COVID-19 symptoms while at school:
If the person is an employee, he or she will be sent home immediately.  If the person is a student, a parent will be contacted and asked to pick up the student immediately.
Parents/employees will be advised to contact their healthcare professional or the local health department for further guidance on general questions about COVID-19 and information about testing.
A face covering will be given to the person if he or she does not have one.  If the person is a student, he or she will be taken to a designated room or office for isolation from others until being picked up by a parent/guardian.
The student will be supervised by a staff member who maintains at least six feet of space and wears personal protective equipment (PPE).
Areas where the student or employee may have been will be closed off and cleaned/disinfected properly.
The person designated as the school’s COVID-19 coordinator will notify Gaston County Schools Health Services of the incident.  Health Services will contact the local health department to determine next steps and a plan of action.
Good hygiene practices to remember
We would like for you to review the following hygiene practices and do your part to help limit the spread of the coronavirus.  It is a good idea to review these practices with your child and others in your family.
Wash your hands frequently with soap and water or use hand sanitizer; Keep your social distance (at least six feet of space) from others; Wear a mask/face covering when in public; Use a tissue to cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing; Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth; Clean touch points, surfaces, and other high-contact areas regularly; and Stay at home if you are not feeling well.  If you are exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, please contact your healthcare professional.
Thank you for your continued support of your child’s school.  The safety of everyone associated with our school community is extremely important, and our hope is that all of us can work together to support each other as we face this global pandemic.

W. Jeffery Booker, Ed.D.          
Gaston County Schools

Steve Eaton, MPH
Public Health Director
Gaston County Dept of Health and Human Servicesincerely,
Hoyle Historic Homestead

Historic Homestead 29th Annual Open House event cancelled

The Board of Directors for the Hoyle Historic Homestead have decided to cancel the upcoming 29th Annual Open House event that was scheduled for September 12th, 2020. This decision was made after much consideration and regard to the NC Governor’s orders and suggestions for social distancing measures. The Hoyle House dates to the mid-1700s and is the oldest house in Gaston County and is located between Dallas and Stanley.

Gastonia’s Summer Concert Series canceled

Because of the coronavirus pandemic and continued statewide limits on the size of social gatherings, all concerts in Gastonia’s Summer Concert Series have been canceled. Some concerts had been rescheduled for the fall. But the extension of Phase 2 in North Carolina into September prompted organizers to cancel the series for 2020. The free concerts are held at the Rotary Centennial Pavilion in Downtown Gastonia. The concert series is presented by the Rotary Club of Gastonia East, in partnership with the City of Gastonia.

Memorial dove release planned for August 26th

The Keystone Kops from Oasis Shriners Temple will be having a special memorial dove release for Ronnie Jonas on Wednesday, August 26 at 6pm in the Glenway St. parking lot behind Friends in downtown Belmont. Penny Briggs will be supplying the doves. Rain date is Sept. 2, 2020.
Money raised by the donations and 50./50 tickets will go to Shriners Hospitals for Children. There will be a DJ and entertainment. In addition to Jonas the event will memorialize Keystone Kops who  have passed including Patsy Norwood, Cris Oehler, Mike Gheesling, Paulette Edwards, Robert Grant, and Wayne Robbins.

Kennerly and Karns celebrate 50 years at Ramsey Products

Gloria Kennerley and Raymond Karns are both celebrating 50 years of service  at Ramsey Products Corp.  An amazing accomplishment! Gloria works in sales/customer service and Raymond works in the chain assembly/finishing department. They both started at Ramsey in early 1970. Gloria will be retiring at the end of August and Raymond has plans to retire in the near future. Gloria enjoys traveling and spending time with her husband and Dachshunds. Raymond is a semi-professional cornhole player. Ramsey Products is grateful for their work ethic and loyalty through the years and wishes them nothing but the best! Ramsey products is located in Belmont, NC and has been manufacturing silent chains and sprockets since 1923.     Photo provided

Book Bag Giveaway...

Thanks to Kintegra Health for sponsoring the Back to School “Splash into Wellness” Drive-Thru Book Bag Giveaway event. Nearly 1,000 book bags were distributed to families on Saturday, August 7. Everyone who attended was appreciative of the book bag, food and other items received. This is just another example of a great business and community partner that contributes to Gaston County schools.

Belmont Central Elementary

Belmont Central Elementary Coach Daniel and the PTO are working hard to create and paint fun new games on the blacktop! Thank you to Coach Daniel, Mrs. Smith, Holly Sass, Michelle Crawford, Martha Carter, and Sara Ernst and all other PTO members that came out or shared ideas!

Lynn Nichols of Gaston College wins 2020 Altrusa Award of Excellence

Lynn Nichols, Associate Dean for Health and Human Services at Gaston College, is the recipient of the 2020 Award for Excellence presented by Altrusa International of Gastonia. The award was announced in February at the annual Gaston College Employee Appreciation and Recognition Ceremony. The award was “in recognition of outstanding service to students and representation of the highest ideals of Gaston College and Altrusa International.”
The Altrusa Award for Excellence recognizes an outstanding Gaston College faculty or staff member who personifies the College’s mission, vision, and values. Nominees are judged on their involvement with Gaston College students and their positive impact on the students’ lives. They must exhibit an enthusiasm for life, concern for others, and a commitment to the concept of lifelong learning. They are also evaluated on their extraordinary accomplishments and contributions to the College, community, or other civic activities.
Penny Ewing, an Instructor in the Medical Assisting program, nominated Nichols for the Altrusa Award. Ewing said that Nichols is “the epitome of what a lifelong learner and teacher is. She stands above all others in her commitment to hard work and being committed to student success.”
Nichols is a first-generation high school graduate. She enrolled in the Gaston College Medical Assisting Program in her late twenties. The Department Chair at the time, Betty Jones, was one of her instructors. “She saw potential in me as a student that no one else had ever recognized,” said Nichols, “and she convinced me that I could succeed in college.” After graduating from Gaston College, Nichols enrolled in and graduated from Pfeiffer University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Health Care Management.
While working on her undergraduate degree, Nichols was given the opportunity to work as an adjunct instructor in Medical Assisting and then to become the full-time lead clinical and lab instructor. After becoming a full-time instructor, and with continued encouragement from Ms. Jones, Nichols obtained her master’s degree in Adult Education/Higher Education from Appalachian State University.
Nichols served over 15 years as the lead clinical and lab instructor in Medical Assisting and then became the Coordinator for Medical Assisting, a position she held for five years. She has been the Associate Dean for the Health and Human Services division since 2016.
“My educational philosophy includes the belief that it is my role as an instructor to provide a safe and respectful classroom environment conducive to learning,” said Nichols. “Students want to learn content that will be useful, meaningful and relevant to their life and interests. When teaching, I try to connect the learning content to life.”
 In her Altrusa Award nomination form, Ewing said that Nichols’ “hard work and commitment have been an inspiration, not only to myself but to others as well. I aspire to be to others what her example has been to many.”
“Knowing what the Altrusa Award for Excellence represents, I am truly honored to have been nominated for and to be a recipient of the Altrusa Award,” said Nichols. “I believe my receiving this award is actually honoring all the individuals who through the years have mentored and supported me in my education and in my career. I am an alumnus of Gaston College, Pfeiffer University and Appalachian State University, but without the education and opportunities that I first received as a student at Gaston I would not have the career I now have.
“I am so blessed in my career that it is important for me to make a positive difference in the lives of our students and in whatever role I am in as a member of the Gaston College family, because that is what I have received from Gaston College both as a student and as a faculty member.”
Altrusa International Inc. is an international community service organization dedicated to making communities better through leadership and service. Through the Gaston College Foundation, Altrusa International of Gastonia established an endowment to support the award in 1993, and the first recipient was selected in 1995. The organization also provides three scholarships to Gaston College students each year. More than $16,500 has been distributed through the scholarships and the Award for Excellence since the endowment began.
 For information on this and other activities of the Gaston College Foundation call 704-922-6511 or email

Girl Scouts volunteer to keep Belmont Beautiful

These Girl Scouts are just one of the many groups that has come to volunteer with Keep Belmont Beautiful over the years. This year looks a little different, with new rules about staying socially distant, wearing masks and remote learning for some of our schools. Keep Belmont Beautiful is still here, still active with the Main Street program “Flower Power”, as well as targeted roadside cleanups that KBB volunteers are doing. If you as Belmont residents see an area that needs attention, please let KBB know either email or by phone. KBB needs you to be our eyes and be advocates for keeping our city clean. Keep Belmont Beautiful is located at 1401 East Catawba Street 28012. Phone 704-825-8587 or email
Montcross Chamber photo

New Fairfield Inn & Suites now open

The new Fairfield Inn & Suites in Belmont is now open and ready to welcome guests. The address is 1 Caldwell Drive, Belmont. The hotel is in the Mount Holly city limits, just off I-85 exit 27. The hotel has 91 spacious rooms with mini fridge and coffee makers. Over 1,100 sq. ft. of meeting space that is perfect for trainings and receptions. Amenities include a complimentary hot and healthy breakfast buffet along with outdoor pool and fire pit.


Tri-County Animal Rescue: Pets Of The Week

Due to COVID-19, all adoptions will be done by applications.  Once approved you will be contacted for a meet/greet and to complete the adoption.  If interested in any of our pets, please EMAIL for an application.  
Tri-County Animal Rescue Pets of the Week are:
This is Arthur aka Sweet Boy. He is a 5 months old heeler mix. Arthur weighs about 30 pounds and will be a big boy as an adult. He loves belly rubs and snuggling. Arthur loves to play with toys and other dogs.  He is working on house-training. Arthur prefers a fenced yard for playing. Arthur is neutered, current on vaccines and micro-chipped.  Send for the application and ask for Arthur.
This lovely Border Collie mix is Jinx.  She is 2 years old and weighs about 35 pounds.  Jinx is a typical Border Collie that would be great for agility.  She is a sweet girl with lots of energy. Jinx loves wading in a pool, sitting on top of things and watching over her kingdom. She is very smart!  Jinx is spayed, current on vaccines and micro-chipped.  Send for that application and ask for Jinx. 
This big girl is Delilah. She is a Great Dane and Labrador Retriever mix. Delilah is 2 years old and weighs about 80 pounds.  She is looking for a home with no small children…. only adults and teens. Delilah wants all the attention and refuses to share. She is fully house trained and crate trained. Delilah is spayed, current on vaccines and micro-chipped. Send for that application and ask for Delilah. 
If you are looking for an addition to your family, please send that email and ask for an application.  Tri-County Animal Rescue will be available for scheduled meet and greets for adoptions by appointment ONLY.  
About Tri-County Animal Rescue
Tri-County Animal Rescue is a non-profit organization serving Lincoln, Gaston and other surrounding counties. We are committed to ending pet homelessness in this area and we need your continued support.  If you cannot adopt a pet, then support Tri-County in other ways. We need volunteers and donations to continue our mission of finding homes for these unwanted animals. Please help Tri-County Animal Rescue continue to save pets by adopting your next pet this weekend? Our “needs” list includes:  towels, Clorox, laundry detergent, paper towels, dry dog food and dry cat food.
 For more information, call 704.263.2444, send an email to or on FaceBook at Tri-County Animal Rescue.  Donations can be sent to Tri-County Animal Rescue, PO Box 483, Alexis, NC  28006.
Tenley Ritchie

Ritchie Celebrates 8th Birthday By Giving Back To Tri-County Animal Rescue

Tenley Ritchie celebrated her 8th birthday recently.  She adopted a pet two years ago for her birthday and now wants to give back to Tri-County Animal Rescue.  Tenley decided to give gifts to the cats and dogs at the rescue for her birthday.  Just as she did last year for her seventh birthday, Tenley collected dog food, cat food, cat litter and other items instead of presents for herself!  Tenley goes to Belmont Central third grade.  Everyone at Tri-County Rescue wants to give Tenley a big Happy Birthday shout out! Tenley (on the left) and her sister, Mckenna, are pictured with the donations. Thanks Tenley!  

New Outdoor Art In Downtown Belmont

Luke Manlove, owner of Belmont’s Specialty Foods in downtown Belmont next to City Hall, has put a series of great looking archival photos on the side of his building. The photos came from Allen Millican and were applied directly to the bricks with a heat gun.
“I’ve had the building for five years and saw the wall as a big billboard,” Manlove said. “I plan on changing the pictures with each season.”
The photos went up last Monday and have already getting plenty of notice from folks.

See more photos in the July 23 issue of Banner-News.

Tri-County Animal Rescue: Pets Of The Week

Due to COVID-19, all adoptions will be done by applications.  Once approved you will be contacted for a meet/greet and to complete the adoption.  If interested in any of our pets, please emqail for an application.  
Tri-County Animal Rescue Pets of the Week are:

A rambunctious Chihuahua/Dachshund (Chiweenie) mix named Peanut.  This little man is one year old and weighs about 12-15 pounds.  He is an adult and will stay small.  Peanut has a lovely tan/white coat..  The grooming for Peanut is very simple…bath and brushing.  Peanut is very much a puppy and has lots of energy.  Peanut is neutered, current on vaccines and micro-chipped.  Send for that application and ask for Peanut. 
A beautiful Papillion named Peppy.  This toy breed little man is four years old and weighs about 10-12 pounds.  He is an adult and will stay small.  The Papillion is known for their butterfly-like look with the long and fringed hair on their ears.  Peppy has a beautiful longer coat that is mostly white.  Peppy will need to be groomed more often due to the long hair. Peppy needs a home with adults and older children (14+ years of age).  He likes a quiet, settled home.  Peppy is neutered, current on vaccines and micro-chipped.  Send for that application and ask for Peppy. 
An energetic Terrier/Beagle mix named Odie.  This boy is six months old and weighs about 20+ pounds.  He is still growing but should max out at about 25-30 pounds. Odie has a short, tan/white coat that will be easily maintained with a bath and brushing.  Odie is very active and will need lots of activities.  A fenced yard will be needed for his exercise routine.  Odie does not like a lot of new people.  He gets possessive and will try to protect his owners.  A strong alpha pet owner is needed to keep him in line and provide the leadership he needs. Odie is neutered, current on vaccines and micro-chipped.  Send for that application and ask for Odie. 
 A beautiful Pomeranian mix named Bella.  This little girl is three+ years old and weighs about 15 pounds.  She is an adult and will stay small.  Bella has a beautiful longer coat that is reddish blonde.  Bella will need to be groomed more often due to the long hair. Bella needs a home with adults and older children (14+ years of age).  She likes a quiet, settled home.   Bella is spayed, current on vaccines and micro-chipped.  Send for that application and ask for Bella. 
If you are looking for an addition to your family, please send that email and ask for an application.  Tri-County Animal Rescue will be available for scheduled meet and greets for adoptions by appointment only.  
About Tri-County Animal Rescue
Tri-County Animal Rescue is a non-profit organization serving Lincoln, Gaston and other surrounding counties. We are committed to ending pet homelessness in this area and we need your continued support.  If you cannot adopt a pet, then support Tri-County in other ways. We need volunteers and donations to continue our mission of finding homes for these unwanted animals. Please help Tri-County Animal Rescue continue to save pets by adopting your next pet this weekend?  Our “needs” list includes:  towels, Clorox, laundry detergent, paper towels, dry dog food and dry cat food.
 For more information, call 704.263.2444, send an email to or on FaceBook at Tri-County Animal Rescue.  Donations can be sent to Tri-County Animal Rescue, PO Box 483, Alexis, NC  28006.

GEMS Major Lisa Gunn Retires

Congratulations to GEMS Major Lisa Gunn on her retirement. Her determination and humble attitude impacted many people over the last 28 years. Best wishes for a retirement  full of happiness and fulfillment.

Belmont police visit Catherine’s House

Most importantly, they prayed together.
Catherine’s House representative reported- “We prayed that the centuries of hurt and anger of our black brothers and sisters would be heard and understood. We prayed that, as the amazing men and women of the Belmont Police Department continue to protect our safety and ensure our right to peacefully protest, that they too would be protected and safe from those who would intend to do them harm. Lastly, we prayed that our communities and nation would come together, in a similar fashion, to listen and understand one another. That, through these types of conversations, we would begin to see, and then treat each other with a level of mercy, love and humanity, never seen before in this country.”


Historic Belmont City Hall Building New Home For Montcross Area Chamber

After nine years in one of Belmont’s most iconic buildings, the Montcross Area Chamber of Commerce will relocate its offices to another in July.
The growing Chamber moved in 2011 from a one-room office on Main Street into multiple offices in the historic white-brick, two-story Stowe Building, formerly the headquarters of R.L. Stowe Mills.
The next home for the Chamber will be in the historic Belmont City Hall Building at 115 N. Main Street, just across the street from the present Chamber location.
The Belmont City Council unanimously approved a lease making it possible for the Chamber to locate its offices in the City Hall Building. Space for the Chamber is becoming available when some of the city’s administrative staff move into new offices being completed in what soon will become known as the CityWorks Building on Catawba Street.
“Working from this beautiful and historic City Hall Building will give the Chamber more visibility,” said MACC Board Chair Heath Jenkins. “We’re tremendously excited and grateful to the city for the opportunity to serve our members and the communities of the Montcross Area from this prestigious location.”
The new home also will enable the Chamber to be more effective in its economic development role and in welcoming visitors and newcomers to Gaston County, said Chamber President Ted Hall.
The Belmont City Hall is a historic post office building built in 1939. It housed the Belmont Post Office until 1970, then was converted for use as City Hall in 1973. The building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1995.
The Chamber plans to move into its new offices before the end of July.
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Harmon Graduates With Two Degrees From Gaston College

Positivity and determination have helped Sharima Natasha Harmon pursue her studies at Gaston College. At the end of the current school semester, she will graduate with Associate in General Education and Associate in Criminal Justice Forensics degrees.

Harmon is a full-time student carrying an overload of classes and is a single mother to a 10-year-old daughter and a four-year-old son. She was pregnant with her son when she enrolled in Gaston College in 2015, but because it was a high-risk pregnancy she eventually had to withdraw from her classes. To further complicate the situation, she was taking care of her 92-year-old great-grandmother at the same time.

In 2016, Harmon re-entered Gaston College with a continuing education class and she hoped to be accepted into the nursing program. Science class credits she had earned during previous college studies had either expired or were not transferable, but she had high hopes that eventually she would be able to get into the program. “I attempted to go back to school in summer 2017, but had to withdraw again due to childcare problems,” Harmon said. “I came to the conclusion that taking classes while my older child was attending school would probably be the best course of action. I had to refocus and come up with a master plan.”

Everything changed for the better for Harmon in fall 2018. She was back at Gaston College, and mid-way through the semester she learned about the TRiO program, which helps students meet their educational goals. “Ever since I have been focused and successful,” she said. “They told me about all the resources available to me and that is one of the reasons I have been completing all my goals.”

In addition to attending to her academic and personal responsibilities, Harmon works two part-time jobs. One of those jobs is as a PRN Tech with CaroMont Regional Medical Center. A PRN employee works when called, to fill in for an absent employee or to cover a special situation. Her other part-time job is as a work-study student with the Gaston College Financial Aid Office.

The staff at the Financial Aid Office first got to know Harmon when she would come in to submit documents and paperwork to apply for aid. They were impressed by her optimistic outlook and drive to get her education at Gaston College. They learned more about Harmon when she became their work-study student and they found that her positive attitude and willingness to help were “impeccable.”

Harmon is also a cancer survivor, and pushed herself to work, go to classes, and be positive while dealing with another recent cancer scare and biopsy. “I kept pushing through and I have to say that the only person that can hold you back is yourself,” she said. “Every day I told myself that I could do it. I couldn’t let any obstacles stop me from being the best I could be for my children.”

Harmon will be back at Gaston College in the fall, starting the Licensed Practical Nursing program. She would like to combine her forensics knowledge with nursing to pursue a career in Forensic Nursing.
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Bessemer City High School Graduate Wins Paul Fuller Mentoring Scholarship

Gaston County Schools

Chloe Lamtman-Dillon will tell you that her mentor shaped her into the confident young woman she is today.

She became involved in the Gaston County Schools mentoring program as a student at Cramerton Middle School, which gave her an amazing opportunity to talk to her mentor, Julie Watkins, about the struggles that were going on at home.

“Mrs. Watkins would always give words of encouragement, and I would look forward to days when I would meet with her,” explained Lamtman-Dillon.  “Having her as my mentor meant having someone who was devoted to building me up and steering me toward success.” 

The Bessemer City High School graduate is this year’s winner of the Paul Fuller Mentor Scholarship, which is given each year to an outstanding student who has been involved in the school district’s mentoring program.  The $1,000 scholarship is renewable for up to four years.

The mentoring scholarship is named in memory of Paul F. Fuller, who was one of the first mentors in Gaston County Schools and was an avid supporter of the program.  The program began in 1992 with just 10 mentors at Mount Holly Junior High School.  Today, it involves approximately 250 adults who serve as mentors at more than 30 schools.

“The amount of kindness and support I received from my mentor helped me believe that I have the potential to become the person I always dreamed of as a child,” added Lamtman-Dillon.  “Because of her, I pushed myself to set goals and become successful in high school.”

Lamtman-Dillon plans to study political science and criminal justice at Gaston College and obtain an Associate of Science degree.  After Gaston College, she plans to apply to UNC-Charlotte and pursue a major in political science.  Ultimately, she wants to attend Wake Forest University School of Law.

“Although I went through many things, I never let it affect my school work, and I always bounced back from anything life threw at me,” said Lamtman-Dillon, who graduated fourth in her class.  “With the help of my mentor, I became stronger.”

Bessemer City High School counselor Katrina Hopkins said that Lamtman-Dillon is an outstanding student who has been through quite a bit and pushes forward without complaining.

Hopkins added, “She is an exceptional young lady, and all she needs is a chance and opportunity to be successful in life.”
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 Porter Is Global Music Fellows Program Fellow

Judith Porter, instructor of music at Gaston College, is one of 12 exceptional educators selected from applicants across North Carolina to participate in a unique professional development and curriculum fellowship program offered by UNC World View in partnership with Carolina Performing Arts. The program received financial support from the Carolina Asia Center. The UNC World View Global Music Fellows Program provided an interdisciplinary professional learning experience designed to enhance Fellows’ global competency skills and expand their pedagogical toolkits for integrating music into classroom instruction. The UNC World View Global Music Fellows Program culminated in the creation of teaching materials designed to integrate global music into K-12 and community college classrooms. The teaching materials accompany the original album, Wu Fei and Abigail Washburn, released by Smithsonian Folkways in April of 2020.

Representing schools, districts and community colleges from North Carolina’s mountains to the sea, the UNC World View Global Music Fellows engaged in an intensive study of global music and strategies for integrating music across the curriculum through this yearlong interdisciplinary, collaborative learning experience.

The 2019-2020 UNC World View Global Music Fellows Program culminated in the publication of the teaching materials that are now available on World View’s website   These materials are designed to support educators in teaching and learning about the album, Wu Fei and Abigail Washburn and, more broadly, the Chinese and Appalachian folk music traditions connected to the guzheng and the banjo. The educator materials include background information, lesson plans, learning activities and educator resources.

Judith’s culminating projects are entitled “Do You Hear What I Hear?”, “It’s Your ‘Thang’: Creating Your Own Musical Instrument” and “Kodachrome: Capturing Life through Music and Visuals.” Judith’s materials feature the songs “Four Seasons Medley: Four Seasons/Dark Ocean Waltz” and “Ping Tan Dance” from the album Wu Fei and Abigail Washburn. These materials were written for use in the community college music classroom. To find out more about the UNC World View Global Music Fellows Program, visit the program page at  Applications for UNC World View’s 2020-2021 Fellowship Program focused on Exploring Indigenous Cultures will open in the fall of 2020.