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.”