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.