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 www.dawson8a.com Instagram: @dawsonimpact; facebook.com/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 https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCLqvGth_7tlwZcmdL8eKxSw/videos
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:
hoylehistorichomestead@gmail.com  or visit the website www.hoylehomestead.org 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 - https://www.belmontabbeycollege.edu/artslive/
For more information or to make a reservation call 704-461-6012 or see www.bac.edu or www.carolinapromusica.org.

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 www.HolyAngelsNC.org.
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 http://www.ncagr.gov/disaster/documents/COVID-19.htm.

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 info@dsbg.org 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 gastonlibrary.org.

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

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

Seniors are National Merit Scholarship Program semifinalists

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

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

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

Union EMS donates ambulance
to Gaston College EMS program

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

Mt. Holly Police Department 

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

Hoyle House is a
Gaston County landmark

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

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

Library Director to retire after 33 years with GCPL

By: Dandria Bradley

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


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

Pumpkin Patch is now open

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

Gaston Schools grab and go meals program update

Gaston County Schools is now using buses to deliver “grab and go” meals on weekdays to neighborhood locations across the county. See the chart above for locations and times.
In addition to the neighborhood locations, the district is continuing to serve “grab and go” meals at 41 school sites from 12:00 – 1:00 p.m. each weekday. Visit the link for a list of school sites: www.gaston.k12.nc.us/grabandgomeals.
The meals are free for children ages 1-18 years, and children are not required to be present to receive a meal. You may pick up at the location that is most convenient for you.

Public schools now able to implement Plan A for elementary schools

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

Keep Belmont Beautiful needs volunteers

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

Davis Park gets new equipment

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

McAdenville to scale down Christmas events

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

Community Relief Organization News...

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

Gaston Museum new exhibit

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

Arts on the Greenway sharing program

Talk about a Win - Win proposition!! Arts on the Greenway is now offering its Share the Art program to local businesses, offices and Restaurants! They have two Share the Art displays up now - the Share the Art display featuring watercolors by Stephanie McLaughlin at Catawba Coffee in Mt. Holly and the Share the Art display featuring acrylics by Carlos Cotera at Jack Beagles Restaurant also in Mt. Holly. Come see the art in person. Or if you’re interested in loaned art for your office or place of business, please contact Sara Graham at saragraham64@gmail.com.

Girls On The Run Receives Check

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

Belmont Parks and Rec. suicide program

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

Arts Mt. Holly event...

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

Local libraries getting makeovers

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

Good News from Gaston County Schools

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

Free lunch...

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

Gaston Christian School cross country athletes get busy!

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


Town of Cramerton Phase 2.5 update

The Town of Cramerton has updated its list of openings and closures related to Phase 2.5 of the Governor’s orders.
These announcements and decisions are being made to coincide with the direction and recommendations of sanitary health and social distancing requirements per the “Phase 2.5 Order” for the State of North Carolina as well as safety additional precautions at Cramerton facilities.
Openings - Cramerton trails/ greenways and park green space are OPEN. Cramerton park shelters are OPEN. Cramerton park playgrounds are OPEN. Cramerton outdoor basketball court is OPEN. Cramerton park public restrooms are OPEN. (Note: public restrooms will be disinfected multiple times per day.)
Important Note: Please note that North Carolina requires continued COVID-19 compliance monitoring. Please remember to adhere to all posted signage regarding social distancing and group gatherings of no more than 50 people outside. Please note that if any rules are continuously violated or egregious activities such as vandalism occur, then these facilities will need to be closed for maintenance and safety reasons.
Closures - Cramerton Town Hall will remain CLOSED to the public until further notice. Cramerton staff will still be answering and responding to phone calls and other communication, so please feel free to call Town Hall as needed at 704-824-4337.
Other Cramerton indoor building facilities such as the C.B. Huss Recreation Complex are CLOSED until further notice EXCEPT for walk-in’s for camp/ programming payment and related information. Please note that masks are required to enter the facility.
The following link is to FAQ’s regarding Phase 2.5: https://www.nc.gov/covid-19/staying-ahead-curve/phase-25-faqs

County reopens facilities

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

NC Governor Cooper and Cohen meet with Dr. Birx

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

Gaston County wins AARP Community Challenge grant

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

Arts at the Abbey returns with live stream format

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

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

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

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

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

Gaston College recognizes staffers for 25 years of service

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

Gaston College Counseling Center is open

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

Young receives Journalism Education Fellowship 

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

East Belmont Baptist invitation

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

Living in Christ
Pastor Jeff Taylor
East Belmont Baptist Church

Good News from Gaston Early College High School

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

City updates fire hydrants

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

Shining Hope Farms golf tournament

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

The Schiele Museum reopens

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

Montcross Area Chamber Welcomes Twisted Sugar NC to Belmont

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

Gaston Christian School

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

Gaston Christian School

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

City of Mt. Holly/Red Cross blood drive

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

House of Mercy Annual Walk for AIDS is Sept. 12

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

Mt. Holly PD Successful Books and Badges School Supplies Drive

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

Child care hotline

Families and caregivers in need of child care for children up to age 12 can call the child care hotline at 1-888-600-1685 to be connected directly to care options in their community that meet their families’ needs.
“We know that families may need extra help finding school-age care options right now, as many schools have started the school year with remote learning only, and others are operating with children onsite on alternate days or weeks to meet social distancing requirements,” said Susan Gale Perry, Chief Deputy Secretary for NCDHHS. “The Child Care Hotline can help families fill that child care gap by providing referrals to available school-age programs.”
The hotline is open Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. It is a collaboration of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) and the North Carolina Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R) network. Care will be offered by licensed child care providers who agree to meet NCDHHS health and safety guidelines.
For more information about child care during COVID-19, visit covid19.ncdhhs.gov/information/child-care/child-care-information-families.

Duke Energy plans continued assistance for NC customers in need

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

Belmont gets Carolina Thread Trail grant

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

Congratulations to Lieutenant Lackey

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

Calvin Shaw is Gaston College’s Instructor of the Year

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

Molly Tessnear honored

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

Tri-County Animal Rescue: Pets of the Week

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

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

Chief Communications Officer
Gaston County Schools

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

Breakfast for all students:  $1.20
Lunch for elementary students:  $2.70
Lunch for middle school and high school students:  $2.80
Breakfast for school staff/adult guest:  $1.50
Lunch for school staff/adult guest:  $3.75
Students are given an opportunity to apply for reduced-price and free meals.  The application is available on the Gaston County Schools website (www.gaston.k12.nc.us/schoolnutrition).  Students/parents may obtain a printed copy from the school office or at the School Nutrition office.  For more information, call (704) 836-9110.

Belmont Parks and Rec. dance class signups

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

Gaston College begins fall classes

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

Gaston Schools remote learning information

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

Keeping up with Keep Belmont Beautiful

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

Cato Homes appreciates its senior residents with luncheon

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

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

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

What to expect: Gaston County School parents and employees

Dear Parents
and Employees:

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

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

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

Historic Homestead 29th Annual Open House event cancelled

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

Gastonia’s Summer Concert Series canceled

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

Memorial dove release planned for August 26th

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

Kennerly and Karns celebrate 50 years at Ramsey Products

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

Book Bag Giveaway...

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

Belmont Central Elementary

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

Lynn Nichols of Gaston College wins 2020 Altrusa Award of Excellence

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

Girl Scouts volunteer to keep Belmont Beautiful

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

New Fairfield Inn & Suites now open

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


Tri-County Animal Rescue: Pets Of The Week

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

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

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

New Outdoor Art In Downtown Belmont

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

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

Tri-County Animal Rescue: Pets Of The Week

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

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

GEMS Major Lisa Gunn Retires

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

Belmont police visit Catherine’s House

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


Historic Belmont City Hall Building New Home For Montcross Area Chamber

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gaston County Schools

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Judith’s culminating projects are entitled “Do You Hear What I Hear?”, “It’s Your ‘Thang’: Creating Your Own Musical Instrument” and “Kodachrome: Capturing Life through Music and Visuals.” Judith’s materials feature the songs “Four Seasons Medley: Four Seasons/Dark Ocean Waltz” and “Ping Tan Dance” from the album Wu Fei and Abigail Washburn. These materials were written for use in the community college music classroom. To find out more about the UNC World View Global Music Fellows Program, visit the program page at https://worldview.unc.edu/resources/world-view-fellows-resources-2019/.  Applications for UNC World View’s 2020-2021 Fellowship Program focused on Exploring Indigenous Cultures will open in the fall of 2020.