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Extension Master Gardenersm Group of Gaston County annual plant sale

The MASTER GARDENER Group of Gaston County (MGGGC) will hold their annual plant sale on Saturday,   May 1, 2021, 8:00 -10:30 am, at the Citizens Resource Center, 1303 Cherryville Hwy (NC 279), Dallas, NC. You must come early for best selection. There is often a line at the door before the sale begins. It is helpful for those intending to buy several items to bring a wagon. Assistance is available to help carry purchases to the car. Quality plants from our own gardens will be available, including perennials, small trees, shrubs, annuals, house plants, herbs and vegetables. There will be a silent auction for garden-themed items, several made by local artists. The silent auction will end at 10:00 am and the highest bidder will be announced and called if not present. The winner must be available to pick up and pay for their item by 11:30 am. Cash and credit card sales accepted.
All the proceeds from this annual event are used to fund MGGGC educational programs. The planning committee has worked hard to make this event safe for all to attend. The cashiers, sale tally personnel and silent auction will not be in the main plant sale area, allowing for more distance between the tables and for social distancing. There will be taped markings for flow and distancing.
The MASTER GARDENER GROUP of Gaston County has over 100 active volunteers serving the community in various educational gardening activities. Any questions regarding the NC State Extension Master Gardener sm Program may be directed to Area Extension Agent Julie Flowers, 704-922-2104 or Julie_flowers@ncsu.edu. Barbara Linster, publicity contact for the group, can be reached at 704-674-0860 or balinster@yahoo.com.                                                                                                               
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A Stuart Cramer High play cast with director Chuck Stowe.

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

(April 15, 2021 Issue)

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

Scavenger Hunt

(April 15, 2021 Issue)

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

East Gaston wins
big home game

(April 15, 2021 Issue)

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

60th Annual McAdenville
Easter Egg Hunt was a hit

(April 15, 2021 Issue)

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

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

(April 15, 2021 Issue)

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

Gaston County Museum
virtual art show

(April 15, 2021 Issue)

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

(April 15, 2021 Issue)

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

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

(April 15, 2021 Issue)

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

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

School secretaries successfully complete program

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

(March 25, 2021 Issue)

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

East Gaston senior awarded prestigious scholarship

(March 25, 2021 Issue)

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

(March 25, 2021 Issue)

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

(March 25, 2021 Issue)

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

(March 25, 2021 Issue)

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

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

Gaston College program makes truck driving a family affair

(March 25, 2021 Issue)

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

(March 25, 2021 Issue)

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

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

(March 18, 2021 Issue)

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

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

(March 18, 2021 Issue)

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

Congratulations to Ricky Brown

(March 18, 2021 Issue)

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

An Imperial
Easter egg exhibit

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

Holy Angels adds innovative technology to its special education programming

(March 18, 2021 Issue)

By Shawn Flynn

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

New Extension Master Gardener
Volunteer course begins April 5th

(March 18, 2021 Issue)

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

(March 18, 2021 Issue)

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

(March 18, 2021 Issue)

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

Belmont City Pride Day planned

(March 18, 2021 Issue)

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

Drive-In Bingo

(March 18, 2021 Issue)

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

(March 18, 2021 Issue)

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

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

Good News from Gaston County Schools

(March 11, 2021 Issue)

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

(March 11, 2021 Issue)

Stanley Middle School is home to Gaston County’s only STEAM Academy for middle schoolers. The school offers a curriculum that features a distinct emphasis on STEAM: Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics.
From the five STEAM areas, all students engage in lessons and activities involving science and math. In the sixth grade, students create a foundation of skills and knowledge related to technology. In the seventh grade, students build on what they have learned about technology and gain a perspective of the arts. In the eighth grade, students add the engineering component to complete the middle school STEAM experience.
In addition to core subject courses, students can take “core plus” classes in art, band, choir, Spanish, business technology, computer science, medical science, engineering, and physical education/health. Students may take the following high school courses: Math I, Spanish I, World History, and Earth and Environmental Science. This program provides a pathway for students to participate in the Health Sciences Academy @ East Gaston High School or the Technology and Industrial Engineering Academy at Bessemer City High School.
Students from outside the Stanley attendance area who will be in the sixth grade for the 2021-2022 school year may apply for this program. A lottery process will be used to determine the 40 sixth grade students who will attend (from outside the Stanley attendance area).
Visit our school choice webpage for more information and to submit your application: www.gaston.k12.nc.us/schoolchoice.

Online workshop aims to improve overall health

(March 11, 2021 Issue)

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

Lowell News

(March 11, 2021 Issue)

The City of Lowell is proud to present: You Got Egged! (When being egged is a good thing!)
Due to COVID, Lowell Parks and Rec. won’t able to put on its popular Easter Egg this year so they are bringing an Easter Egg Hunt to you
Lowell Parks and Recreation and the Lowell Community Committee will be delivering Easter eggs to registered kids houses in Lowell. A dozen pre-filled Easter eggs will be tossed into your yard for each registered child in the household during the week of Easter.
This free event is open to kids ages 0-12. Child must reside within the City of Lowell. Registration is open March 1-22. Please note that this event is limited to 100 registrations so registrations may fill up before the deadline.
 Post your after “you got egged!”photos to facebook or instagram using the hashtag #WeGotEggedinLowell
For additional details and to register your child: please visit:
http://lowellnc.com/CivicAlerts.aspx?AID=81
Lunch
Registration is now open for Lunch is Ready! A Drive Thru Easter Lunch for Lowell Senior Citizens. This event is open to Lowell residents for ages 60 and up. Meals are $3 each and can be ordered by calling 704-824-3518, option 1. The deadline to register is 3/19.

Queen of Apostles Easter meal

(March 11, 2021 Issue)

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

Dwight Frady Field safe - for now

(March 11, 2021 Issue)

By Alan Hodge
alan@cfmedia.info


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

Gospel concert planned

(March 11, 2021 Issue)

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

(March 4, 2021 Issue)

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

(March 4, 2021 Issue)

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

Photo by Alan Hodge
 

Red Raiders & Bulldogs open football season

(March 4, 2021 Issue)

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

(March 4, 2021 Issue)

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

Queen of Apostles Easter meal

(March 4, 2021 Issue)

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

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

(March 4, 2021 Issue)


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

Kristen Wilson is Officer of Month

(March 4, 2021 Issue)

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

Queen of Apostles Easter meal

(February 25, 2021 Issue)

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

Sharing the Love...

(February 25, 2021 Issue)

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

(February 25, 2021 Issue)

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

(February 25, 2021 Issue)

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

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

(February 25, 2021 Issue)

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

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

(February 25, 2021 Issue)

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

(February 25, 2021 Issue)

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