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Mayor H.L. Beam, III, Cherryville Police Chief Brandon Hunsucker, CPD Patrol Officer Jason D. Parton, Officer Parton’s wife, Kim, and his son, James Parton. Mayor Beam and Chief Hunsucker have just presented Officer Parton with a framed copy of his Advanced Law Enforcement Certificate at the Monday night, Sept. 11, city council regular session meeting. Behind them are City Council members Gary Freeman, Jon Abernathy, Jill Parker-Puett, and Malcolm Parker. (photo by MEP/The Eagle/CF Media)

City council regular session honors Little Theatre’s 50 years; recognizes Patrol Officer Parton


The Cherryville City council held their Monday, Sept. 11, 2023 regular session council meeting last Monday night in the W.J. Allran Jr., Council Chamber of the Cherryville Community Building. After the opening prayer by Rev. G. Scott Homesley
of St. John’s Lutheran Church and the Pledge of Allegiance, Mayor Beam asked council members to approve the agenda, which was done. The council then unanimously approved the minutes of the following meetings: the Aug. 7, 2023 regular session meeting and the Aug. 29, 2023 work session. Mayor Beam then proceeded to the “Mayor’s Comments” section, whereupon he spoke to the small audience gathered for the council session. “I want to start things out by updating everyone on the news of the proposed gym. Recently, City Manager Dalton, Councilman Parker, and myself met with the Larry and Carolyn Summer family, and they agreed to donate the land on Academy Street, across from Dr. Tom White’s old office, for a new gym and dog park. The paperwork for it is From Page 1
being drawn up; the plans are being drawn up. This is an exciting and needed addition for our citizens.” Mayor Beam also noted a new Little League monument is in the works with Dr. White agreeing to cover the cost for it. Beam also mentioned eight (8) new basketball goals have been installed at the city’s parks. “Pete’s Fish Box opened last week, and I heard it was an overwhelming success,” said Mayor Beam. Beam also mentioned the possibility of a new Mexican restaurant coming to the site of the old Pizza Express building on Main Street; that project is expected for December of this year, he added. “Also, there is a new golf shop in the old Belk building, a new floral shop
coming to the former Bella Verde building, and the Splash Pad at the Ballard Park pool is expected to be ready by early Spring 2024.”
Beam also noted that, in his 10 years as mayor, he personally hasn’t seen so many new businesses choosing to make Cherryville their new home. As there were no citizens to be heard, next up on the agenda was the special recognition of Cherryville Police Department Patrol Officer Jason Douglas Parton for receiving his Advance Law Enforcement Certificate. Officer Parton received a letter, dated Aug. 11, 2023, along with his certificate, from NC Dept. of Justice, Criminal Justice Standards Division Director Jeffrey Smythe. The letter notified PO Parton that, “After examination of your credentials, the Commission unanimously approved issuance of the Advanced Certificate to you.” It further stated the Certificate award, “…provides recognition of the competence and achievements of eligible officers across the state. This award requires substantive professional experience, many hours of additional training, and often a higher level of formal education. To meet these requirements is a feat worthy of commendation. Your dedication to your chosen profession is evidenced in the fact that your are one of a very select group of officers to receive this honor.” Director Smythe then noted, in part, “It is with great pride that I offer you congratulations on the attainment of this most significant
award.” Chief Hunsucker thanked Officer Parton and his family, and congratulated Officer Parton, noting, “This award is the highest level of certificate an officer can receive. Officer Parton has nine and half years of service with the Cherryville Police Department and over 1,200 hours in. He is a valued officer.” With PO Parton as he accepted his award from Mayor Beam, and received his pin from Chief Brandon Hunsucker, was his family; wife, Kim, and son, James, who were both beaming with pride over Jason. Mayor Beam read a proclamation honoring the Cherryville Little Theatre’s 50th anniversary. City P&Z Director Richard Elam asked the council to consider appointing Vida Dellinger Jackson, to the Planning and Zoning Board, which they did. Other items for council’s consideration at this session were setting a date for a public hearing regarding rezoning property at 518 N. Mulberry St., from GMC to R-9, and consideration of street and alley closing application fees. Both were voted on and unanimously accepted as discussed by the council. Council then went into a closed session to discuss personnel matters concerning a new city attorney to take Palmer Huffstetler’s place as he is retiring. As there was no other business, council adjourned.
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A fragment of the Cherryville Little Theatre’s 50th Anniversary poster, heralding the upcoming celebration this month of 50 years in serving the community. (photo provided)

Cherryville Little Theatre celebrating 50 years of art, plays, and fun

Focus of the first part of the celebration article is about the upcoming productions of Sept. 22, 23


(Editor’s note: This is Part One of the story of the 50th anniversary of the Cherryville Little Theatre. It begins here, and will continue and conclude with Part Two, in the Sept. 20 issue of the Eagle.)

Cherryville’s beloved Little Theater will celebrate a half century of existence and community service this year, and its most dedicated director and spokesman Wade Stroupe, now is the time to let folks know what a great service the CLT has provided to its home community.
To that end, he has put together a media blitz to let all know about an upcoming 50-year commemoration planned for Sept. 22 and 23, 2023.
But, let’s let Mr. Stroupe continue his story…
“According to an old local newspaper (The Shelby Daily Star; April 28, 1973), ‘No one seems to know just how the Cherryville Little Theatre came into being…no one knows where the initial interest sparked or who was responsible for lighting the spark. The important thing is there was enough interest in little theatre to bring some 25 Cherryville residents out on a November evening, based on a radio announcement, and enough sustained interest to plan for a first production in May… Their enthusiasm and energy are seemingly boundless, so the Cherryville Little Theatre is well on its way toward being a successful venture for the community…”
“Yes, that is the way it was! In November of 1972, a meeting was held at Cherryville High School, to gauge the interest on starting a ‘theatre’ group in Cherryville.
 The result of that meeting, attended by 25 Cherryville citizens, was a huge success, leading to follow-up meetings. In subsequent meetings things began to take shape: the group was formally named the Cherryville Little Theatre; plays were read and a first play selected – ‘Barefoot in the Park’ by Neil Simon; John David Kennedy was chosen as the first Director; open tryouts were held; and the newly formed theatre was up and running, at full speed!”
Stroupe noted CLT debuted its first ever production, “Barefoot in the Park”, on Friday, May 11, 1973 at 8 p.m., with a second show the following evening” He added, “The show was held at the East School Auditorium, and the ticket prices were $1.50 for adults, and $1 for children.”
He continued, “Fast forward to 2023, 50 years, and more than 140 plays later, you will find the Cherryville Little Theatre is still at full speed, and doing very well. To commemorate this historic milestone, the Theatre is planning a celebration and production: ‘50 years of the Cherryville Little Theatre: A REUNION’. Show dates are Friday, Sept. 22, and Saturday, Sept. 23, 2023. The curtain opens each night at 7 p.m., and will be held, as always, at the Little Theatre building at 301 West Academy Street, Cherryville.”
Stroupe, a long-time veteran of the CLT, said the anniversary showcase has been his “brainchild” for while now, adding, “This project has been on my mind for over a year and the occasion is certainly worthy of being recognized.”
Stroupe, along with Debbie Beam Hopper, who is also a veteran of CLT, and Sarah Fox Sandoval, the current President of the group and a stage veteran in her own right; have been working diligently to write, direct, and bring this story to life.
Said Mr. Stroupe, “The showcase will be a quick look back at the past 50 years, and will also highlight songs and scenes from many favorites through the decades. There have been so many memories and quality performances on the CLT stage through all the years. The toughest part has been trying to scale it into an hour and a half show. And also the people – so many wonderful and talented people in every decade – there would never be enough time to honor and pay proper respect to everyone involved with the heritage of this Theatre. So, we are taking a bigger picture approach to remember the Theatre as a whole; for what it is and has been; and to express the community’s appreciation for everyone’s contributions.”
Stroupe noted the purpose of this show is twofold.
“Obviously, CLT wants this to be a fun and exciting trip down memory lane. But, more importantly, this is an invitation to the Cherryville community to come to the Theatre. Maybe it has been years, or perhaps you have never attended a Theatre show; the Theatre Board of Directors wants you to attend and find out what CLT is all about. Thus, this show being titled ‘A Reunion’, intended to be a gathering of old and new friends.”
For those who wish to contact the Theatre regarding tickets for this or other plays, please visit them at their web site at, or call them at (704) 435-1742. Their bricks and mortar address is 301 W Academy St, Cherryville, NC.

(Part Two of this story will lay out, in next week’s 9-20-23 Eagle – the great cast of characters who have been movers and shakers for the CLT family as well as other information about this great little community service and enterprise. CLT truly is a community-wide, and a state, treasure! Please check back with us. You’ll be glad you did!)
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Cherryville City Council members at last Tuesday’s work session. (photos by MEP/The Eagle/CF Media)

Short list of items take up bulk of Council’s Aug. 29 work session


The main news at last Tuesday night’s, Aug. 29, city council work session was two-fold actually; a $15,000 check presentation by the Cherryville ABC Board Chairman James R. Beam. With Beam were ABC Board member Gail Jenkins and ABC store manager, Allen Fraley. Fraley is also a Gaston County Commissioner, representing Cherryville Township, said it was his pleasure to be at the meeting.
The other news item was a presentation to the city by Electricities’ representative, Roy Jones, in which he requested that council “…take the appropriate steps necessary to approve the required Ordinance and other documents required concerning the long-term sale of power from the Catawba Nuclear Station.
As far as the ABC presentation, Mr. Beam read from a prepared document noting that the Board’s total distribution to the city for the fiscal year 2022-2023 was $45,000, and their total distribution to the city for CPD law enforcement was $6,000.
Beam noted ABC’s total distribution of funds to the city since 1982 to date are $1,026,486, and total distribution to CPD law enforcement to date is $208,800, bringing the complete total distribution from Cherryville’s ABC board to $1,235,286.
Mrs. Jenkins, Mr. Beam, and Mr. Fraley told council the estimated revenue from beer and wine sales for FY 2023 is $25,000, with an estimated total revenue (since 1982) of $670,000.
The total revenue from the ABC system since 1982, noted Mr. Beam, is $1,905,286.
In conclusion, Beam read from the statement, “The Cherryville ABC Board had another record-breaking year with annual revenue topping $1,650,000 for the FY ending June 30, 2023. With this additional check for $15,000, it brings the total distribution to the City of Cherryville for the FY-2022-2023 to a grand total of $51,000 (including CPD Law Enforcement) which represents the largest distribution of profits for any single year!
“In addition, the Cherryville Shrine Club received the Alcohol Education distribution again this year in the amount of $3,000.”
In conclusion, Beam noted, “We also paid a required rehabilitation tax for the year totaling $4,717.65, along with NC Sales Tax for 2022-2023 of $115,314.25, and NC Excise Tax of $334,485!”
Council discussed a road closure application and fees item, which will be up for a vote at the September council meeting. Council also considered Veda Jackson to fill a vacant position on the Planning Board/Board of Adjustment for the ETJ position. Mr. Dalton told council this was on the agenda for council’s consideration.
Roy Jones, from Electricities, spoke to council, and gave a brief slide show on the potential long-term sale of power from the Catawba Nuclear Plant. Outlined in the hand-out to the council (page 2), among other things, was the purpose of Mr. Jones’ talk (five bullet points in length) being as follows: 1.) North Carolina Municipal Power Agency Number 1 (NCMPA1), the wholesale power supplier to the 19 municipalities in western NC, has an ownership interest in the Catawba Nuclear Station; and 2.) There have been ongoing efforts to identify opportunities to “right-size” and diversify the power supply portfolio through the sale of excess nuclear capacity and energy; and 3.) The Boards authorized execution of a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with Central Electric Power Cooperative, Inc. (Central) that replicates a 150 MW (18 percent) sale of NCMPA1’s nuclear ownership interest in Catawba; and 4.) The Central PPA was executed on June 4, 2023 subject to several conditions which include that all 19 NCMPA1 participants will be required to agree to the PPA; and 5.) Requesting that the Council take appropriate steps necessary to approve the required Ordinance and other documents required thereby, pursuant to the letter from Mike Colo, of Poyner Spruill, dated July 31, as amended on Aug. 10.”
After some discussion and a reading of the ordinance and how it affects the city, council voted to approve the ordinance as read.
In other business discussion of a crosswalk on Mountain Street was approved, with the work being done by NC DOT. It was also noted the four basketball goals are now up at Edwards Park, with discussion of work still to be done at Aaron Moss Park.
It was noted the CPD’s building painting “looks great,” and that another sign will be put up soon on the façade of the building.
Council discussed the proposed Splash Pad with it being noted the plans for the pad have come in. It will be a baseball-themed Splash Pad, one of the council members said.
Lastly, Mr. Dalton noted the proposed gym plans are progressing and that a scoreboard has been ordered for Fraley Field/Cherryville Memorial Stadium.
Said Mr. Dalton, “Mr. Patrick O’Leary has donated $85,000 to the Cherryville American Legion, Post 100, to purchase a new scoreboard for the baseball field. This scoreboard was ordered this week.” Dalton also added that the City has not involved with any of the financing.
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The Wild Cholla owner and operator, Randi Hicks (center left, front row, folding the big scissors), with her family and a host of Cherryville City staff and Chamber of Commerce, Cherryville Main Street and Council members prepare to cut the ribbon signifying they are officially open for business at the location on Mountain Street. (photo by MEP/The Eagle/CF Media)

The Wild Cholla cuts ribbon; they are open for business

New stores adding to the charm; draw of the Mountain Street area in a big way


Owner and operator Randi Hicks, of The Wild Cholla, in Cherryville, gathered with her family, friends, and a host of Cherryville city staff, Chamber, Council, and Cherryville Main Street members to officially host a ribbon cutting signifying the new store is open for business.
Hicks said in an earlier Eagle article the shop is “a boutique with a beer and wine bar”, all in one place, or one shop. The buildings are located at 205 and 207 N. Mountain Street, and are unique in their own right, with all sorts of eclectic charm and just the right amount of space the two were needing.
Hicks and fiance’, Gary Nadal, are Lawndale residents, said they chose Cherryville as the location for her new shop, and eventually for his antiques store, which he is currently working to get opened up after Randi’s store gets really going.
After the ribbon cutting, Cherryville Mayor H.L. Beam, III said, “On behalf of all the city employees and the city council, we want to say welcome to the City of Cherryville. We all want you all to be successful.”
On a personal note, Mayor Beam thanked Ms. Hicks for helping his granddaughter pick out clothes for her first day of school.
Chamber Board Chairman Pete Craft also welcomed The Wild Cholla family members by saying, “Gary, Randi, we want to welcome you all to Cherryville, and to let you both know if there is anything we at the Chamber can do to help you in any way, don’t hesitate to give us a call.”
Downtown and Main Street Director David Day said, on behalf of the Main Street folks, that they welcomed the two the renaissance of the new Mountain Street district, adding he is “…sure you both will be a great asset to the revitalization of the downtown area.”
Randi and Gary spoke, thanking Mayor Beam, and all the city staff and Chamber and Council members for the hearty welcome and for coming out to celebrate their ribbon cutting event.
“We are overwhelmed! All I can say is ‘thank you! Thank you so much!” said Randi, who invited everyone to come inside the shops and look around. Gary agreed, adding, “This is great! Really great!”
As was noted earlier in the previous Eagle article, part of the charm of the shops, is the repainted old sign for The Cherryville Ice and Fuel Company (repainted by artist and teacher and City Councilman, Gary Freeman) and the amazing wooden ceiling rafters and beams, which echo the neighboring Cherryville Family YMCA’s wooden rafters, exposed and preserved by entrepreneur, Patrick O’Leary, who also owned the buildings Randi and Gary are in now.
However, the fantastic merchandise also adds to the store’s charm as well. Randi said some of the jeans lines she carries are Kan Can, Vervet, Flying Monkey, Petra, and Wisteria Lane. Shoe brands are Very-G, and wedge sandals, slide sandals, and flip-flops by various makers.
The Wild Cholla’s hours are as follows: Closed on Monday; Tuesday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.; and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Randi said you can contact their store on Facebook at The Wild Cholla, or email her at in order to get more information.
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The Rev. Ken Gibson holding his plaque, honoring him for his 65 years in ministry. The plaque was given to him by the congregation of Friendly Chapel, with whom he spent 10 months as interim pastor. (photo provided)

Rev. Ken Gibson honored for 65 years in the Lord’s service

Octogenarian man of God says staying focused on his calling has helped him do God’s work


Cherryville minister, the Rev. Ken Gibson knows quite a bit about being on the front lines as a soldier in the Army of the Lord; after all, he’s had 65 years (and counting) in service to his great King and Savior.
The tall, silver-haired pastor has the look of an Old Testament prophet and, even at age 88 (as of this coming Sept. 7), still gets around better than some men half his age. He has an amiable smile that has known much joy in his long life, tempered with a little suffering as well, but Rev. Gibson knows Who is the Keeper of his soul and of the many he has been privileged to introduce to the Savior. That is what he takes joy in every day, knowing he has helped build God’s great kingdom person by precious person.
How has been able to stay the course? “Simple,” he said, adding, “By staying focused. I always go back to my calling; knowing I was called. I was called when I was 16, but I didn’t for sure until college at Southeastern (Baptist Seminary), in Lexington, Kentucky.”
Reverend Gibson’s first church posting was in 1958, in Exway Baptist Church in Mt. Gilead, he said. Then on July 13,  1958,  he  was ordained at Mt. Carmel Baptist in Troy, NC. In 2008, he celebrated 50 years in the ministry and although he noted he has retired a couple or three times, Gibson said he always comes back to his first love, ministering the Gospel.
Rev. Gibson was married 53 years to his late first wife, the former Dixie Piatt, from Marion, Ohio, whom he met at seminary.
“She passed away in 2009. We had three children and have five grandkids and 10 great-grandkids,” said Gibson, who said he is now married to the former Fran Keever, from Lincolnton. They have been married for five years. Gibson’s children are: Cherith ( a nurse); Kenny (a retired firefighter in Lincolnton); and Darlene (in retail).
Re. Gibson said his service at the many churches at which he has served have, for the most part, been as an interim pastor or a substitute pastor, until the congregation could find a permanent minister.
“It is important for me that a lot of my ministry is was to help heal church wounds,” said Pastor Gibson. He noted he served at Cherryville’s Mt. Zion Baptist Church from 1983 to 1993, and was followed by Rev. Wayne Key, who served the congregation for 25 fantastic years, noted Rev. Gibson. After MZBC, Gibson said he served for five years as the Director of Missions at Chowan Baptist Association, working with 60-plus churches.
His philosophy while there, he said, was, “Be faithful and keep sharing the Gospel. That should be every Christian’s mission!”
In addition to the many small churches he served, Rev. Gibson also said he served seven full-time churches and served as an interim pastor to eight churches since that time.
“I have retired two or three times,” he said with a smile. “I served another Mt. Zion Baptist Church, this one in Alexa (2002), and the last full-time church I served in was Friendly Chapel. I served there as their interim pastor.”
Regarding his many retirements, Gibson laughs gently, and adds quietly, “I can’t find the time to quit.”
He does admit though that, at age 88, perhaps it is time to slow down a bit; maybe work some as what he terms “a fill-in, or supply pastor, but nothing long-term.”
His advice to young pastors is this: “You have to be called. Sometimes knowing you are called by God is the only thing that will keep you going!”
When asked his hobbies, he smiled and said matter-of-factly, “Woodworking! I’m building my own casket even now. I have been working on it for some time, making it out of naturally-finished heart pine. I’ve framed it up and am putting it together.”
Gibson said he loves working with pine, and plans to be buried at Albemarle’s Canton Baptist Church, a church at which he served the longest.
Regarding the beautiful plaque he was presented with by the congregation of Friendly Chapel, with whom he spent 10 months as their interim pastor, Rev. Gibson said receiving it from them was a “complete surprise!”
He continued, “They gave it to me at my last Sunday with them.”
As for his future, Rev. Gibson noted, “Right now, I’m just open to only being a supply pastor. I enjoy my woodworking, and my wife and I love to travel in the U.S.”
When asked what it is that keeps him acting and looking younger than his 88 years, Pastor Gibson smiled and said, “Well… the Lord, and I stay busy. I stay alert, and I always want to keep learning. Never stop learning!”
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Front desk receptionist, Tonya Harris, looks at check-in information with Dr. Charles L. Haddock, the newest dentist at Dr. Paul Cloninger’s office in Cherryville. (photo by MEP/The Eagle/CF Media)

Dr. Charles Haddock newest dentist at Cloninger Dentistry

Works alongside Dr. Cloninger and Dr. Delores Hammer in Cherryville office


Cloninger Dentistry has another doctor to provide top-notch dental care at its Cherryville location at 1015 East Church St., in the person of Dr. Charles L. Haddock.
Doctor Haddock, DMD, joins with Dr. Paul Cloninger and Dr, Delores Hammer in seeing patients at the Cherryville location, and he noted in the recent interview that he and his wife, Halie, both “…graduated from East Carolina University’s School of Dental Medicine in 2022, which is actually where we met.”
Said Dr. Haddock, “She worked in private practice the past year while I went on to complete a one-year Advanced Education in General Dentistry residency through ECU at their Robeson County Community
 Service Learning Center in Lumberton, NC.”
Haddock noted he and his wife were married in Charlotte in June of this year (2023), and added, “She is originally from Union County and has joined Dr. Megan Raynor at Mint Dental, a practice in Harrisburg. It is a bit closer to where she grew up and still has friends and family. Funnily enough, we discovered that the practice where Halie is working was originally started by my now co-worker and colleague at Cloninger Dentistry, Dr. Delores Hammer! Small world!”
Dr. Haddock noted that he and his wife have to travel in order to get to work from their home in Charlotte, which he described as “...a bit closer to my family actually.”
He continued, “Halie and I drive opposite directions in the mornings and our home is almost halfway in between our respective practices.”
The couple have no children at this time, said Dr. Haddock, though he was quick to point out they have a “fur baby,” their Golden Retriever, Cooper.
“Halie actually got Cooper just before I met her and just before dental school. I am very fortunate that he has decided to adopt me! And he turns six (6) on Aug. 17! He is our only pet for now, but things could change,” said Dr. Haddock.
So far as hobbies and other interests, Dr. Cooper said he supports the Carolina Panthers, the Charlotte FC and Manchester United FC football (soccer, to all of us here in NC) clubs. Additionally, he noted he enjoys spending time outdoors or on the water, playing golf, and restoring and showing classic cars with his father.
For his part, Dr. Haddock said, “I am excited to become a trusted provider within the Cherryville community.”
Dr. Haddock said of his wife, Halie, also a dentist, “She is really passionate about photography and she is who I have to thank for my professional headshots. She also cares deeply for helping animals and pets in need. I like to spend my free time working on cars or fishing if I can. I have also been practicing yoga recently. We try to get outside whenever we can, and love spending time in the sun, on the water, or at the beach.”
Haddock noted he is not currently practicing anywhere else except but in Cherryville.
Of Dr. Charles L. Haddock, DMD, Dr. Paul Cloninger said, “He’s a great guy and very knowledgeable. He loves what he does and is excited to get to know his patients and help them. I am looking forward to working with Dr. Haddock, and I am glad to have him as a part of Cloninger Dentistry.”
Doctor Haddock can be reached – as can the other dentists at Cloninger Dentistry – by phone at (704) 435-6916, or via email at or by going to their web site at
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Cherryville Fire Capt. Trent “Bam Bam” Rayfield demonstrating how the firefighters would use the CFD’s tool to unlock a car at the Cherryville Fire Department. (photo provided)

CFD can no longer unlock vehicles except in emergency situations

State regulations, licensing laws, as well as liability issues, have changed things


Cherryville Fire Chief Jason Wofford said he and his staff want to let the citizens of Cherryville and the surrounding area they service know that, effective immediately, their department, and possibly other departments as well, will no longer be able to unlock vehicles, except in emergency situations that involve life safety.
Chief Wofford said last week in an interview with the Eagle that, due to state regulations and licensing laws as well as liability issues, the decision was made.
Said Chief Wofford, in an official statement, “The Cherryville Fire Department will stop providing the service to unlock cars. This is due to rising liability issues, and now a state licensing requirement. The Cherryville Fire Department is only allowed to unlock cars for emergency purposes only. The types of emergency situations are children, animals, and medicine locked in vehicles. We hope citizens will understand the change in service, but it is unavoidable. There are several Locksmiths that service our area. We urge everyone to purchase a hide-a-key or give relatives and/or friends an extra key that can help them if they are ever in need.”
Chief Wofford also noted they have no vetting process for the procedure as well to make sure the person needing to get into a vehicle actually has proper permission to do so.
“It comes to a point,” said Chief Wofford, “when we, or other similar departments,
can no longer offer this service and do it any justice or keep our people safe and not liable in performing this task.”
Chief Wofford noted the CFD has been performing this task “…for at least two decades-plus. We have probably unlocked thousands of vehicles for folks here and around the area.”
So far as finding a verifiable and professional locksmith, Chief Wofford said individuals needing the job done can Google a locksmith nearby, or in Gaston or Cleveland Counties,” adding, “Also, we’re checking in to making a list of them and putting it for the (CFD’s) web site.”
“We want to say thank you to all the folks who utilized that service from CFD then. We were then, and still are now, very glad to help anyone in any way we can, but it must be an emergency situation, like what I noted above. So, please – keep that in mind and call a locksmith if it is not an emergency situation, or provide a contingency plan of your own, such as having an extra key where a family member or friend can obtain it and come to help you out,” said Chief Wofford.
And, as always, in any kind of emergency situation, call 911, or call the CFD’s number at (704) 435-1730.
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Cherryville High School’s Freshmen Transition Camp is slated for Aug. 14. (Eagle file photo by Michael E. Powell/CF Media)

CHS principal; staff getting ready for August 14’s Freshman Transition Camp


It will soon be time for all Cherryville students and prospective students to look forward to – or at least, toward – getting back to school; to the classrooms that await them.
In the case of Cherryville’s only high school, CHS, Principal Shawn Hubers said his upcoming school year starts with getting his newest students; his freshmen, centered on just what is expected of them and what they will be doing once school starts in earnest. That start, for them, begins with Freshmen Orientation, or as Hubers terms it, “Freshmen Transition Camp.”
Said Mr. Hubers last week, “Our Freshmen Transition Camp will be held on Monday, Aug. 14, 2023 from 8 a.m. until 11:30 a.m., at Cherryville High School. Information about scheduling, academic requirements, athletics, clubs, and activities will be provided. All freshmen will receive their semester class schedule at the end of Freshmen Camp.”
He continued, “Students will take a guided tour of our campus, as well as have the opportunity to ask any questions they may have about our school.”
Mr. Hubers noted that Cherryville High School (CHS) student leaders and classroom teachers will speak with the incoming freshmen and “…offer advice that will lead to overall student success.”
Furthermore, he added, “Our guidance counselors and Career Development Coordinator will be available to answer questions related to student services, scheduling, and career pathways. This camp will only be for students. We will have a parent information night during the month of September.”
Said Hubers, “If you have   not  registered  your child, please complete the Google form (on the CHS web site) with your child’s tee-shirt size as they will receive a Cherryville High School tee-shirt at the end of camp.”
The last date to register for camp, noted Hubers, is Aug. 1.
“This is a great opportunity to learn more about our school and the exciting things we have to offer. We look forward to seeing you and meeting our Class of 2027!” said Mr. Hubers.
For more information about CHS, visit the Gaston County schools web site and click on the CHS button.
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Chapel Hill artist and muralist Scott Nurkin working on the Darin & Brooke Aldridge mural on the side of the building adjacent to the city’s mini park. (photo by MEP/The Eagle/CF Media)

New Cherryville Downtown mural honors Cherryville’s Darin & Brooke Aldridge

When approached about being honored with a mural, the couple said they  “…were completely surprised!”


There is a new mural in town and, boy, it is a beauty, as well as being an idea whose time has finally come.
The newest art piece, created by Chapel Hill artist/muralist and musician himself, Scott Nurkin, honors and recognizes two of the town’s premier music stars, Darin & Brooke Aldridge, who have not only made a name for themselves but have elevated the sound of bluegrass music and gospel music to a new level of recognition today. The two, dubbed “Sweethearts of Bluegrass,” by their peers and contemporaries, have also brought great recognition for their hometown of Cherryville with their amazing musical talents.
According to Cherryville Main Street Director David Day, Mr. Nurkin finished the painting just last week, and so far, many have come by to view it.
As far as the city having a scheduled, official unveiling, Darin noted, “I was told the city is planning an unveiling in their next meeting, so hopefully soon.”
Regarding Mr. Nurkin and his artistic abilities. Darin & Brooke stated, “We’ve been huge fans of the incredibly talented Scott Nurkin since we first saw and heard about his painted murals popping up all over North Carolina. We love that he’s a musician himself, and his passion for music goes beyond his talents as a performer through the expressive strokes of his paintbrush.”
They continued, “He understands what it’s like to live the life of a musician. His paintings immediately catch your eye, drawing you into the scene and making you want to know more about his subjects.”
Darin & Brooke also noted, “When our hometown of Cherryville approached us about honoring us with a mural, we were completely surprised! When the conversation shifted to which artist should paint it, Scott instantly sprang to mind. The town approved, and a picture was chosen.
Scott started the mural July 17, and finished July 19.”
“Words can’t express what it means for Scott and our hometown to gift us with such a timeless and beautiful masterpiece. Brooke and I have both been blessed to come from communities of people who’ve always loved and believed in us – Brooke in Newland and me in Cherryville. When those people come out and show their support, sharing with us what our music means to them and has done for them, we know that we are doing exactly what God intended for us to do. We’re blessed in more ways than we can count, and this mural will always be a huge highlight in our career,” they said.
The two of them concluded by noting, “Thanks to all of the city council members, Mayor Beam and the City of Cherryville.”
For more information on Darin & Brooke, visit their web site at
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Cherryville Police Department Patrol Officer Vince Burleson receives his five-year-certificate of recognition from Mayor H.L. Beam, III at the July 10 regular council meeting. (photos by MEP/The Eagle/CF Media)

Council moves July 10 to accept $400K bid on museum building

In other business amends zoning
ordinance Pt. 5; Sect. 5.2.3(b) and AIA grant of $300K for water/sewer study


The city council had a lot of items on their Monday night, July 10 regular session agenda and tackled them head-on as the night progressed.
After the standard work of approving the night’s agenda, approving the minutes of two previous council sessions (June 12 and June 23), they heard Mayor Beam’s comments.
“I just want to say,” noted Mayor Beam in those comments, “our July Fourth celebration was, by all accounts, a huge success this year. We had, again, by many accounts, more than 5,000 people come out to watch our fireworks and to enjoy a safe July 4th celebration at Rudisill Stadium. In addition to all of our city staff and employees who worked so hard on that event, I also want to thank Mr. Patrick O’Leary who so graciously sponsored the event.”
He continued, “Also, last Friday, Council members Malcolm Parker and Jon Abernethy and I all filed to run for re-election.”
Mayor Beam spoke about the new welcome sign at Depot St., and Main St., nearing completion, thanking the Beam brothers for building it. Beam also mentioned the city’s listing in World Atlas as having one of the best Main Streets in the South.
“Thank you to all of those involved in any way in the Main Street Project for their tireless work in making that happen,” he said.
The Mayor gave special recognition to Cherryville Police Department Patrol Officer Vince Burleson for his five (5) years of service to the city, the presented Second Consecutive Year Gold Awards from the NC Department of Labor to the City of Cherryville’s Police Department and the Public Works Department. Accepting for the CPD was Chief Brandon Hunsucker and accepting for Public Works Director Chris King was Kevin Abernathy.
Under the Citizens to be heard section of the meeting, Mike Dellinger spoke first, repeating what he has stated before in previous meetings, that any amount of money is worth giving up the city’s history or having an “arsenic pond” located, as he noted, “down the road.” He said he has his hand on the pulse of the town and added he “knows what is going on,” this in reference to the city’s prior written statement on the Piedmont Lithium contract.
Mayor Beam told Mr. Dellinger the city’s decisions were made ahead of time at their work sessions, with Council member Jill Parker Puett adding those decisions “could have gone either way.”
Dellinger said he was “just looking at stuff logically,” and City Manager Dalton the city’s lithium plant decision was made “not to approve or disapprove” any action.
The conversation moved on to the Historical Museum debate again with Mayor Beam stating, “We have no interest in doing away with the history of Cherryville,” adding that while the museum may or may not be in the same building, he stressed to all parties present that night, “We have no intentions at this time of closing the museum.”
There then followed an interjection by museum president, Al Putnam, who came to the podium to speak.
He began be telling Mayor Beam what he had just said was “a lie,” adding, “You have spread that lie many times!”
Mr. Putnam continued by telling the Mayor he was “close minded; not transparent,” with the council having a “closed door, closed ears” policy, adding the council will, “…just go and do what (they) want to do.”
More was said until it was noted a lawsuit was filed against the city by the museum, whereupon Councilman Parker asked Mr. Putnam who had signed that lawsuit filing. At that point, the council told Mr. Putnam they could no longer, by law, talk to him about the museum and he was asked to sit down as his time to speak was up.
In answer to Mr. Putnam, Mayor Beam said he resented the accusation there is no transparency in the council, adding his original platform was based on transparency in the city’s workings.
“I am 78 and I have never, ever, made a decision to harm this city! Everything we have ever done is to help this town move forward!” He noted he has been the mayor for 10 years and he hopes to have two more years to see things through.
Businessman Rusty Wise, one of the bidders on the museum property, spoke next and told council the entire bid process was, in his words, “A fiasco,” with “three or four things wrong with it.” Mr. Wise said he didn’t know why the bid process was scrapped in the first place, to which Councilman Abernethy said the city was contacted by Mr. Wise’s lawyer to be sued.
He continued, “We thought it best, at that time, to scrap the process and start again.” Mayor Beam also stated, “All bids were then shut down.”
Mr. Wise said he knows the city’s museum decisions were made based on money but added he hoped the museum will be kept where it is.
Councilman Parker also noted it isn’t the first time the museum building has been sold.
Mr. Wise said, “I challenge Mr. O’Leary to keep it (the museum) where it is and make it accessible to all citizens.” Council member Jill Puett noted that museum director, Pat Sherrill, has done an amazing job of keeping it going.
Council member Gary Freeman moved the city accept the $400,000 bid for the museum property and Council member Puett seconded the motion and it was approved unanimously.
Council voted on and approved a budget ordinance regarding the AIA grant of $300,000 for a water and sewer study.
In other business, City Manager Brian Dalton shared photos of the work being done there and talked about the new basketball court and goals. There are also plans to work on Edwards Park, patch Johnson Drive, get the pickleball court done soon, then it’s on the Rotary Park, Ranbar Park and Aaron Moss Park.
Council also talked about building a gym, similar to the one at Stanley, adding they were working with Gaston County Commissioner Allen Fraley on that matter.
After discussing other items of interest, council adjourned.
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Kari Thurber, co-owner and operator of The Fuzzy Cow Yogurt Shop in Downtown Cherryville, stands ready to prepare any sweet frozen yogurt treat your heart desires. (photo by MEP/The Eagle or provided)

“Fuzzy Cow” yogurt shop now open in downtown Cherryville

Come on in, get a cool treat and beat
the heat while chilling out!


Kari Thurber and Carson Heafner’s frozen yogurt shop, The Fuzzy Cow, is officially open to do (sweet) business in Downtown Cherryville. It is another indication that Cherryville’s revitalized downtown is not only growing but attracting people and thriving all at the same time.
Thurber, originally from Maryland, said she and Heafner – a Newton, NC native – were looking at business ideas they could get involved with as a couple and eventually came upon frozen yogurt as a just the thing.
The shop also has bubble teas, milk shakes, and a host of fantastic toppings to go on the frozen yogurt.
“It is our first venture into business together. The frozen yogurt idea, in general, was mainly his idea,” said Thurber.
The couple live in Belwood at their aptly-named Belwood Ranch, where they and an assortment of large fuzzy cattle, a mix of Highland cows, or “coos”, as they say in Scotland, about five Angus cows, and a few White Parks, along with an assortment of other farm-type critters and such enjoy life at a bit of a slower pace. Thurber went over a couple of the names of the cows, most of which were given them by Thurber’s and Heafner’s daughters, Sydney, Savannah, Kara, and Abigail. The shop came about thanks to one cow in particular, named Debra, who wound up as the inspiration for the colorful logo for the shop. The shop’s logo was done by Raleigh artist Elisabeth Farnsworth, said Thurber.
Thurber is a trained Diagnostic Medical Sonographer, was a stay-at-home mom, but has always done what she called “entrepreneur stuff.”
Of Kara, Thurber noted she helps out at the shop while daughter, Sydney runs their horse farm.
The shop is open every day except Wednesdays, from 12 noon until 8 p.m., said Thurber. She is glad for the exposure they have received since their soft opening.
“The last two days we’ve been slammed!” she said, adding they will have their Grand Opening Monday, July 10, from 11 to 11:30 a.m.
Thurber said she also had a digital print and graphics business in 2019 called Vivid Blue Design, named after her favorite color.
When asked why Cherryville, Thurber noted, “We like it. He (Heafner) likes the frozen yogurt, so we drove around looking at all the small towns in the area in which to start a business that were close to home. Also, Mr. (Patrick) O’Leary and Mrs. (Vickie) Spurling finished this building to our specifications. I designed the kitchen area and the whole floor plan. I built these tables. I like to build things. On the tables, we have games for people to play while eating here. We have Connect Four, Tic Tac Toe, and checkers.”
She continued, “We also have a Bring A Book, Take A Book place in the back, along with a chalkboard which kids can draw on. The back is mainly a kids place. Carson’s eventual plan is to have a karaoke night; maybe even live music at some point.”
Thurber said another aspect of the business is they plan on doing something in the future for the local sports teams.
“We just have to get it going, is all,” she said.
The company is currently on Facebook (Fuzzy Cow) said Thurber, though they don’t have a web site as of yet. They do have an email:
Thurber noted they use real ingredients in their yogurts, which accounts for what she called, “…the deep flavors.” Her favorite is Chocolate Cream Pie. They have a Key Lime Pie flavor, and what they call their “Over The Top” milkshakes, which Kari created and are a thing of beauty and piled high with toppings and, well… more toppings!
“We have had a great response already! We are grateful for everybody’s support. We wanted to ease into it (the business) but everybody found out!”
The front of the old building has the original art glass blocks in the transom and the exposed brick lends a nostalgic air to it all.
Said Thurber of their joint “sweets” venture, “Carson wanted something business-wise that we can own together. We have been together for four and a half years.
Though the frozen yogurt ideas was Carson’s, Thurber noted she likes themes; the idea of taking anything and developing it.
They were excited about their grand opening and what the future holds for the shop, and encourage everyone to come by and enjoy.
To call the shop, their number is (704) 996-6074, she said, adding for folks to leave a message and she or someone will get right back to you. 
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A view, albeit a dated look, of downtown Cherryville (from the World Atlas entry) on a bright, sunny day. (photo provided)

Cherryville selected by World Atlas as having a great looking Main Street

One of 11 towns in southern U.S. so named


We all knew we had a great-looking downtown area and Main Street, especially after all the work that has been put into it and our ongoing Main Street programs. However, if anyone ever wanted another, outside source to weigh in on the matter, look no further than the web site,
Cherryville Mayor H.L. Beam, III, said of the entry, “I think this is great! With all the hard work and perseverance in getting all of it (the downtown Main Street work) finished, this is a well-deserved honor for the City of Cherryville!”
Donna Beringer, President of Carolina Federal Credit Union, and CMSP Chairperson, said, “I think it is wonderful that Cherryville’s Main street was recognized in the article. The City and the Main Street have worked hard to make our Main Street a destination for people to visit. It is wonderful to see this work recognized.”
Their “blurb” about Cherryville is as follows: “If you’re looking for small-town charm, head south! From the picturesque main streets of South Carolina’s Beaufort to the charming downtown areas of Paducah, Kentucky (this editor’s former home town!), there are plenty of southern towns that have somehow managed to preserve a sense of old-fashioned decency and hospitality in spite of all the modern hustle and bustle.
“Take a virtual road trip through 11 beautiful southern towns with main streets so lively they could easily take your breath away. Whether you just need a brief escape from your everyday life or are considering relocating to one of these remarkable places – discover which hometowns in the Southern USA really do have the best Main streets.”
The article went a step further, “Cherryville has an old-fashioned charm that makes it one of the most charming places to visit in North Carolina. The Main Street of Cherryville is one of the best main streets you will find in any town throughout the entire South! The historic downtown runs along Main Street and contains many buildings constructed in the early 1900’s, including several from before 1900. On this beautiful stretch of road, visitors can experience a variety of shops, restaurants, and other unique businesses. Many local artisans and craftsmen display their work through galleries on Main Street. Visitors may even be lucky enough to witness handmade quilts being pieced together at one of the local quilt shops. Cherryville is an ideal place for community events such as festivals, parades, farmers' markets, and more that bring people together in this cozy small-town atmosphere.”
World Atlas’ web site continued, “In Summary – The next time you’re looking for a charming place to go for a stroll, don’t forget to consider these main streets in the southern U.S. Each one offers something special, from historical architecture to quaint eateries, and there’s something to enchant everyone!”
In addition to Cherryville, the following Southern towns were also noted and showcased: Beaufort, SC; Taos, NM; Dandridge, TN; Abingdon, VA; Bardstown, KY; Madison, GA; Oxford, MS; Natchez, MS; Eureka Springs, AR; and, as has already been noted – Paducah, KY.
(About WorldAtlas – The Original Online Geography Resource.
WorldAtlas was launched all the way back in 1994 (back when there were only about 2,700 websites on the internet) as the passion project of cartographer John Moen and his wife Chris Woolwine-Moen. Today, WorldAtlas is one of the largest publishing resources in geography and other topics it covers, including sociology, demography, environment, economics, politics, and travel. In 2019 alone, WorldAtlas has served over 165 million readers from around the world.)
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A wide-angle view of the July 1, 2022 Cherryville Independence Day festivities, held for the first time, and to much acclaim, at Cherryville High School’s home of the football Ironmen and men’s and CHS soccer teams – Rudisill Stadium. (file photos by MEP/The Eagle/CF Media or Susan L. Powell)

2023 Independence Day event
at Rudisill Stadium June 30

Success of last year’s show cements choice by city for this year’s festival


Assistant Fire Chief for the City of Cherryville Colby Heffner said the city will be hosting its annual Independence Day Celebration on June 30, from 6-10 p.m., at Rudisill Stadium. Assistant Chief Heffner also added he will be the lead operator/IC for the event and Captain Nathan Bowman will be the lead shooter.
“The fireworks will be shot from the First Methodist Church parking lot and the best viewing location is within the Rudisill stadium complex,” said AFC Heffner, who is also the Safety Director.
He continued, “The Cherryville Fire Department would also like to remind all citizens that aerial fireworks are not permitted in North Carolina. It is strongly advised that the citizens of Cherryville refrain from shooting these types of fireworks and attend shows only operated by licensed professionals.”
Last year, it was noted in the Eagle the venue “…had to be changed; moved actually, due to construction work being done on the downtown area where past celebrations have normally been held.”
Cherryville Mayor H.L. Beam, III welcomed everyone to the 2022 festivities and he will do the same this year.
Beam noted last year he saw “quite a few people there at the stadium,” adding, “When I left shortly after the fireworks began, I drove on Pink Street and saw many people in chairs watching. Even the tables at Houser Drug were filled with many, many people, and   at   the First  Baptist Church parking lot I noticed a great many folks watching” with many more watching from vantage points in the downtown area as well.
Mayor Beam noted then, “It was great to see everybody come out to celebrate our Independence Day. I believe this was the largest crowd our city has entertained for the Independence celebration. I would suggest we continue at this location for future July 4th celebrations.”
Rudisill Stadium has the seating capabilities a large crowd needs Beam also noted later.
Thanks go to all the sponsors and volunteers that made this year’s celebration such a great success.”
City Manager Brian Dalton said of the 2022 event at Rudisill, “I felt that the July 4th (2022) celebration was a huge success! I have had nothing but positive comments about the event and being able to have it (there)!”
Mr. Dalton also noted he appreciated “…all the City employees working hard and the vendors for helping produce a great event. We also could not be successful without the many volunteers that help!”
Mary Beth Tackett, City of Cherryville Program Coordinator and Cherryville Chamber of Commerce Director, was on record last year, saying “We are so thankful that we were still able to have this year’s festival. We want to say a huge thank you to Gaston County Schools for partnering with us and allowing us to use Rudisill Stadium as a venue during our Streetscape construction. I would like to give a special shout out to (CHS Athletic Director) Scott Harrill for being there through the whole process and helping us out tremendously with this event. We would like to thank our sponsors, Main Street Family Care, Piedmont Lithium, FleetNet America, Hometown Direct Care, Somerset Court, (then) Gaston County Sheriff Alan and his wife, Cathy, NAPA Truck and Auto, and Wal-Mart.
“This event would not have been possible without our sponsors and of course volunteers. Our (2022) event team, made up of Gary Dellinger, Hannah Garrett, Mike Clark, Tina Clark, Allison Brewer and Emily Blackburn, were amazing as usual, and were there set up and to tear down. We had a ton of support from the City’s Public Works Department as well for this Independence Day Celebration. Those guys were there with us the whole time doing whatever needed to be done. It was a great help!
Of course, as always, thank you to the Cherryville Police Department for keeping us safe and to the Cherryville Fire Department for the amazing fireworks show!”
Cherryville Downtown Director David Day’s comments in the Eagle article on the 2022 ID4 celebration were equally thankful.
Said Mr. Day then, “I thought (the 2022) Independence celebration went extremely well, with the new locations and its challenges. The Cherryville High School athletic director, Scott Harrill, worked so well with the event leader, Mary Beth Tackett, and the festival and events team. I personally oversaw the beer garden, which was in a separate location from the festival. It was located on Hoyle Street. We were able to add the beer garden and this was a great asset to the festivities. We had so many volunteers from the community who helped make this successful in this temporary location and the experience brought huge crowds to the Cherryville festival which continued with its reputation of being one of the best in Gaston County.”
Cherryville Fire Chief Jason Wofford said of the 2022 celebration, “I am extremely thankful for all the firefighters who took the time away from family and vacations to help participate in setting off fireworks for our July 4th (2022) celebration. It takes a great amount of work to pull this off and they have done so for 20-plus years. Special thanks go to Assistant Chief (Colby) Heffner and Captain (Nathan) Bowman for putting on a great show. Everything went well without any reports of damage. I would also like to thank the First United Methodist Church and its members for allowing us to utilize their parking lot for the fireworks.”
Assistant Fire Chief Heffner was equally excited about how it all went down last year, noting, “I believe (the 2022) fireworks were great! Everything went as planned and there were no injuries reported that I am aware of! We had great support from our members at CFD, surrounding mutual aid departments (Waco VFD, Hugh’s Pond VFD and others, Cherryville Police, GEMS and Gaston County Sheriff’s Office), Gaston County Schools, and most importantly, First United Methodist Church! Their willingness to allow us to use their parking lot to shoot the fireworks created a safe viewing experience for all and we are very grateful for their support and cooperation. I have only heard positive comments from numerous citizens and city employees about the event. We are proud to serve in this capacity for the City of Cherryville and we look forward to always providing a safe, and enjoyable, fireworks display for the citizens and visitors of Cherryville!”
Captain Bowman echoed AFC Heffner’s sentiments, adding briefly, “I heard a lot of good things about the (2022) fireworks and celebration. I believe this year with the help of Waco, Hugh’s Pond, and Tryonota Fire Departments, it has helped our department grow closer together and strengthen our bonds with each other. We look forward to serving the city and celebrating our freedom for many years to come. We especially want to thank each and every veteran that has served, is serving, and that will serve, our great nation in the future.”
Then-Cherryville Police Chief Cam Jenks said the city workers did an excellent job, as did the men and women of the Cherryville Police Department and other attending law enforcement agencies who assisted that night, in making sure it was a safe and great celebration for the City of Cherryville.
For more information on future Cherryville events, go to the City of Cherryville’s website at or the Chamber’s web site at
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Cherryvillle Mayor H.L. Beam, Mr. David Day, and City Council member Jon Abernethy presented the first-ever Juneteenth Day celebration proclamation to one of the event’s organizers, Mrs. Bernice Harris, of Cherryville. (photo by MEP/The Eagle/CF Media)

City’s 1st Juneteenth celebration fills Mini Park with music, food and fun

Saturday event was “a long time in coming,” but its day finally arrived


Cherryville’s first-ever Juneteenth celebration finally came to pass after a couple of past attempts to bring the holiday’s events to the city. Some of the participant’s said it was a day that was a long time in coming, but it’s day had “finally arrived!”
David Day, Downtown Director of the Cherryville Main Street Program welcomed everyone last Saturday, June 17, to the city’s downtown Mini Park, for the small town’s first-ever Juneteenth celebration. A couple of reasons were cited for the event’s having to be postponed; primarily the downtown Streetscape construction and its delays, and perhaps the biggest issue – the COVID -19 pandemic and the fears it caused.
Mayor H.L. Beam also welcomed Donna Beringer, of the Cherryville Main Street Program, as well as city councilman Jon Abernethy. He then gave a brief history about the public holiday, then read the proclamation, which had been mounted on a plaque.
Mayor Beam said, “PROCLAMATION – WHEREAS, on January 1, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, setting in motion the end of slavery in the United State; and –
From Page 1
 WHEREAS, it was not until June 19, 1865, that it was announced to those still enslaved in Texas: “The people are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United State, all slave are free;” and – WHEREAS, the celebration of the end of slavery, which became known as Juneteenth, is the oldest known public celebration of the end of slavery in the United State; and – WHEREAS, Juneteenth commemorates the role played by ancestors of Black Americans in this nation’s continual quest for freedom for all of humanity; and – WHEREAS, on a larger scale, the celebration of Juneteenth reminds each of us of the precious promises of freedom, equality, and opportunity, which are at the core of the American Dream; and – WHEREAS, ON June 16, 2021, Congress passed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act, establishing June 19th as the 12th U.S. public legal holiday; NOW THEREFORE, I, H.L. Beam, Mayor of the city of Cherryville, NC, do hereby proclaim June 19, 2023 as JUNETEENTH In the City of Cherryville, and I urge all people in our city to become aware of the significance of this celebration in the heritage of our nation and state. Signed this 17th day of June, 2023 – H.L. Beam, Cherryville Mayor.”
He and Council member Jon Abernethy then presented the proclamation to one of the event’s organizers, Mrs. Bernice Harris.
Mrs. Harris thanked everyone for coming out as well and thanked Mayor Beam and the City if Cherryville for their support of this important holiday.
“This has been a real journey for me. We are all going to have a good time here today!” she said.
Spinning some tunes for the event were the men of Cecil & Company, which is (left to right): Cecil Partlow; DJ Ken Byrd; and his son, Kash Byrd. Cecil said he has over 38 years in the music business, having once played bass for the Ohio Players as well as in other music venues in the area and the state. He and Ken have both been in the business together, for 40-plus years, he added.
Ms. Patrice Dorsey – Anthony, a teacher’s assistant at James Love Elementary School for 29 years, was showcasing all the examples she has researched and found of Black Americans inventing and/or patenting inventions and everyday items we all use today and take for granted. She talked about Dr. Carter G. Woodson (1875-1950), known as the Father of Black History, who established the study of it in 1926.
“I love it,” said Ms. Dorsey – Anthony, of Black History. “By it, we can come together as a community because we are all members of God’s family.”
Pastor Donald Charles spoke to the crowd, saying, “It’s a celebration! It’s time! It’s time for us to act like there is a purpose for all of your coming out here today!” He talked about the event being something magical, and should be as natural as breathing. He also talked about Black pioneers such as Ida B. Wells; Rosa Parks, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, who all, he noted, “…didn’t stop believing it was time!”
Pastor Charles concluded by stating, “This day really means freedom, as there is something about being free that ought to churn your heart, whether you are White or Black; Red, or Yellow!”
There were many vendors selling sweets and treats and craft vendors and food trucks were also on hand. A couple were 2013 CHS grad Jacquilla Burris, who had her own “Killa Sweet Treats” booth (Facebook at Killa Sweet Treats LLC); T’Keyah  and Kris Ward’s “Bakelovetoit, llc, out of Kings Mountain (, Instagram:bakelovetoit_llc); and Cherish Carney’s “Sweets To Cherish” (Facebook Sweets To Cherish out of Charlotte, NC) just to name a few.
Mr. Day noted there was to be a dance team by Sheila McCain and a poem reading by Diane Camp as well as special singing by Gabrielle McCorkle, who graduated from CHS this year.
Mrs. Betty Patterson of Cherryville noted, “This (celebration) is our first (here in Cherryville) and I hope it won’t be the last.”
Pastor Charles also stated, “I would like the town of Cherryville, as a whole, that they love the community. All of this is in God’s timing; it is all in God’s timing that it is coming to pass.”
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Gary and Wyatt, a.k.a. as Steve Mayeux (banjo, vocals, and drum box) and Jay Ostendarp (guitar, vocals, bass, and ukelele), are members of the Charlotte-based band, Dead Man’s Banjo. (photo provided)

First Cherryville Third Thursday event is June 15 in Mini Park

City to host food vendors, music,
and shopping this Summer and Fall


Downtown Director David Day said recently that, “Cherryville’s Main Street will come alive on third Thursdays of the summer and fall months with food trucks, live music, and special shopping deals.”
When pressed for a date, Mr. Day noted, “The first (Third Thursday) event will be Thursday, June 15, from 6 to 8 p.m. That evening, in the Mini Park, the featured food trucks, wine and beer garden and music will be by Gary and Wyatt. Main Street merchants will be open and offering special deals. There will be a special food truck, Lake Side, featuring Lobster.”
Day continued, “We want to make Main Street a summer evening destination for our citizens. In addition to the food, music, and shopping deals, residents can enjoy the ever-improving amenities of the Mini Park.”
Some of the downtown merchants at whose establishments one can shop, said David, are Annalise, Art by Sherry, Carpenters Gifts, Home Folks’ Café, Houser Drug, IW-Med Spa, McGinnis Furniture, Niney’s, Print 3-D, Rita Rae’s, and Victoria Cole, said Day.
Mr. Day continued, “We’re working on new and more seating for our summer events. Plus, we now have free WiFi in the Mini Park. Our new living art wall is beginning to grow and will make a beautiful natural art piece for the Mini Park.”
Also, Day noted there is to be an antique car show in the North Alley.
For more information, citizens may call the Main Street office at (704) 435-3451.
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The Monday, May 29, Memorial Day Parade made its way from Cherryville’s City Hall to the Mini-Park gazebo. In the parade were many local city and state officials, along with many veterans, who matched in honor and memory of those who served their country. There were many veterans in the parade as well. (photo by MEP/The Eagle/CF Media)

Wet weather doesn’t dampen city’s Memorial Day Parade

Wreath laid in memory of all vets
who answered their country’s call


Led by a handful of golf carts carrying some of the city’s veterans who were unable to walk the route down Main Street, Cherryville’s 2023 Memorial Day Parade started at City Hall, and ended at the Mini-Park. There a wreath was laid by members of the Cherryville American
Legion  and the  American Legion Ladies Auxiliary, in memory of those we loved and lost in America’s wars and conflicts
With a small crowd looking on and remembering their own service or that of their loved ones, the mood was a somber one as Cherryville First Baptist Church pastor, the Rev. Dr. Vince Heavner, himself a veteran of the U.S. Army Reserve as a Chaplain, and Mayor H.L. Beam, III, talked about what the day meant, and still means, to all who served or are still serving in the military. Also in attendance were Councilwoman Jill Parker-Puett who carried and set the wreath and District 13 American Legion Auxiliary President, Lynette Christensen. Christensen said she has eight Auxiliary units in her district, one of which is Unit 100 in Cherryville. President of Unit 100 is Tammy Snyder, who was unable to be at the parade. For her part, though, Christensen said she thought the parade went well in spite of the inclement weather. The Post 100 Ceremonial Honor Guard was also present for the firing of a 21-gun salute to honor all fallen veterans.
Pastor Heavner noted, “Memorial Day holds a great significance for those who served. They all – we all – had a selfless desire to serve.”
Dr. Heavner continued, adding, “In the 155 years since it was first observed, when it was called ‘Decoration Day’, and was used as the day when one could go out and beautify the graves of the recently departed who lost their lives during the Civil War, we have all carried their sacrifices with us. We all are to commit to building a brighter future for all of us.”
Mayor Beam then spoke about how, across the nation, on May 29, Memorial Day, many were gathering and remembering those who served America in military service throughout all this great country’s wars and battles. He then read aloud Gov. Roy Cooper’s proclamation citing, among other things, that over 720,000 live in the state, which he said was the fifth largest military presence in the U.S. He also noted the governor’s request that, on Memorial Day, all flags would be lowered to half-mast in memory to, and in honor of, our military families.
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Gaston County Schools’ named
Valedictorians; Salutatorians

 GCS’ seniors earn top academic, perfect attendance distinctions

Chief Communications Officer
Gaston County Schools

Gaston County Schools has 26 students in the Class of 2023 who have achieved the top academic distinction of valedictorian or salutatorian. Additionally, two seniors in the Class of 2023 have earned the distinction of 13 years of perfect attendance.
Valedictorian and Salutatorian information
The senior with the highest weighted grade point average (GPA) is selected valedictorian, and the senior with the second-highest weighted GPA is chosen salutatorian. Listed below are the valedictorians and salutatorians for Gaston County Schools and biography information for each student, starting with the hometown school, Cherryville High School:
Cherryville High School
The CHS Class of 2023 Valedictorian is Joseph Alexander England. His
college plans: UNC-Chapel Hill to major in contemporary European studies and English and comparative literature; plans to pursue a career as a political journalist.
Joseph’s accolades: Gaston County Schools/Gaston Gazette Star Student; Dwight H. Harrelson Memorial Scholarship; National Honor Society; drama club member and student director; offered approximately $1 million in scholarships from various colleges and universities.
The CHS Class of 2023 Salutatorian is Rileigh Elizabeth Kiser. Rileigh’s college plans are her going to Appalachian State University to major in environmental science, with a concentration in life science; plans to pursue a career as a wildlife biologist or nature conservationist. Her accolades: National Honor Society; Piedmont Lithium Power for Life Scholarship; Appalachian State University Academic Excellence Scholarship; and being chosen Cherryville High School Female Athlete of the Year.
Perfect Attendance information – Each year, the Board of Education honors graduating seniors who achieve perfect
attendance for either 12 years or 13 years. Two seniors in the Gaston County Schools Class of 2023 earned 13 years of perfect attendance.
One of those was CHS’ own Gage Vernon, who achieved 13 years of perfect attendance. Gage plans to attend Gaston College to obtain a degree in nursing.
During his school’s graduation ceremony, Vernon received a perfect attendance plaque from the Gaston County Board of Education in recognition of his outstanding accomplishment.
Others who were Valedictorian and Salutatorian for their respective high schools are listed as follows:
Ashbrook High School –Valedictorian: Sherry Adrienne Ramos Martinez; and Salutatorian: Sarah Patel.
Bessemer City High School – Valedictorian: Alexis Nicole Thomas; and Salutatorian: Hansel Lamar Hughley.
Stuart W. Cramer High School –Co-Valedictorians: Lyndie Jo Humphrey and Madeline Claire McKinley; and Salutatorian: Abby Lynn Ferrell.
East Gaston High School – Valedictorian: Isabel Maria Suarez; and Salutatorian: Brylie Elizabeth Chaney.
Forestview High School – Valedictorian: Emma Grey Taylor; and Salutatorian: Yash Pankajkumar Patel.
Gaston County Virtual Academy – Valedictorian: Cason Rylee Harris; and Salutatorian: Jacqueline Torres-Villar.
Gaston Early College High School – Valedictorian: Katherine Grace Allen; and Salutatorian: Paigelan Starr Freeman.
Highland School of Technology – Valedictorian: Olivia Marie Apple; and Salutatorian: Samuel David Cook.
Hunter Huss High School – Valedictorian: Emily Corzine; and Salutatorian: Lauren Moonie.
North Gaston High School – Valedictorian: Caroline Allred; and Salutatorian: Jenna Mason.
South Point High School – Co-Valedictorian: Bailey Allen, and Co-Valedictorian: Michelle Tracy; and Salutatorian: Henry Eisenhuth.

More Perfect Attendance Information
Each year, the Board of Education honors graduating seniors who achieve perfect attendance for either 12 years or 13 years. Two seniors in the Gaston County Schools Class of 2023 earned 13 years of perfect attendance. CHS student Gage Vernon was one of them, Karley Albanese of Forestview High School achieved 13 years of perfect attendance.
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On Oak Grove Drive, in Cherryville, broken power pole and generator were blown down by a fast-moving storm that brought heavy rain and very high winds last Tuesday, May 16.

Cherryville bounces back after strong storm’s damage

Trees downed, power knocked out, houses & businesses damaged area-wide


The town of Cherryville was hit Tuesday, May 16, by  a fast moving, straight-line winds storm, which brought very high winds and damages, including city and area-wide power outages to this area of northwestern Gaston County. It has been over a week and damages from the storm are still being handled by city, county, and state emergency services.
Some estimates put the straight-line winds and micro-bursts as high as 85 miles per hour.
Shortly after the storm moved through the area, a media advisory from Gaston County Schools’ Communications Director, Todd Hagans, noting, “Due to damage and power outages caused by a severe storm this evening (5-16-23) in Cherryville, the following four schools will be closed on Wednesday, May 17 for students and employees: Cherryville Elementary School; W. Blaine Beam Intermediate School; John Chavis Middle School; and Cherryville High School. All school-related activities on Wednesday at these four schools are canceled.” Since then, the four schools have reopened and are back up to full working speed.
Cherryville Mayor H.L. Beam, III called a news conference on Wednesday, May 17, and, along with City Manager Brian Dalton, a couple of the city’s council members and the fire and police chiefs, spoke to a group of about 15-plus media outlet’s reporters about what the city is doing to alleviate the problems and issues brought about by the damage wrought by the high-powered storm.
Said Mayor Beam, “I want to thank all of the media for attending this press conference. I also want to thank our citizens for the great support we have received from them in this trying time. We have a command center set up at the Cherryville Fire Department and it is an area-wide set-up to help everyone.”
Mayor Beam spoke from a prepared sheet that noted the event was a “multi-agency weather event managed by the CFD, and the event resulted in area-wide power outages and over 97 reported incidents within a three-hour time period. He noted there was one injury to a civilian reported with non-life-threatening injuries.
“That person,” said Mayor Beam, “has been released.”
Beam also said the majority of the damages “…were trees on structures and downed power lines, and a State of Emergency has been declared.”
Mayor Beam said over 100 personnel from “multiple agencies assisted the Cherryville Fire and Police Departments. They are Gaston County, Cleveland County, Lincoln County, and Mecklenburg County, as well as surrounding fire departments and state agencies and other public service agencies.”
He continued, “Thirty residents were displaced and the Red Cross is assisting them and providing lodging for four of them. A shelter has been opened at the Shady Grove Baptist Church at 3420 Tryon Courthouse Road, and the National Weather Service will be on-scene shortly to assist as well.”
Mayor Beam noted at the conference that damage assessments were on-going, adding that, “At this time we have approximately 55 structures that have been damaged but that number will continue to change as those assessments progress.” He also noted that Antioch Church has provided 200 chicken plates that were made available then at the Cherryville Police Department for any citizens needing a hot meal.
Mayor Beam stressed, “This is still an active scene. Please stay out of the area to allow our personnel to work. Fifty percent of the power has been restored but additional repairs will continue until all the power has been restored. Please treat all power lines as energized and do not touch any of them whatsoever! Also, treat all intersections without working traffic lights as having four-way stop signs, and lastly, please refrain from using 911 unless it is an emergency. Report any non-emergency requests to (704) 435-1730. Thank you for your time and for coming.”
Afterwards, in answering one TV reporter’s question about what the city is doing, Mayor Beam said of the city’s power crews and city staff, “We are working hard to restore power. On a personal level, this is the closest thing to (Hurricane) Hugo I’ve seen. We are working as hard and as fast as we can to get power restored to all of our citizens and our businesses.”
City Manager Brian Dalton took a question regarding what priorities were first so far as getting power restored, and he replied, “Our priority is getting our schools back up. There is no time frame as of right now. Most everything east of town, the power is off. Everybody is working as hard as they can on all aspects of restoring power.”
Mayor Beam agreed, adding, “This is in God’s hands, but we are very resilient! We have every confidence in our employees.”
The Gaston County Office of Emergency Management and Fire Services (GCOEMFS) used the Everbridge system to send out a message of staying indoors to Gaston County residents.
At this time, there is still a lot of debris scattered throughout the city. To report damage or downed trees and power lines, or if you need shelter, please call the Cherryville Fire Department at (704) 435-1730.
Along with Emergency Management officials, Gaston County Emergency Medical Services (GEMS), Gaston County Police and the Sheriff’s Office, were also on site. Police officers from Lincolnton and Bessemer City, as well as Bessemer City Fire Department, Tryonata VFD, Waco VFD, and Hughes Pond VFD also assisted the Cherryville Fire Department.
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Third Thursday activities in the Mini-Park. (photo provided)

Cherryville’s Main Street hosting food vendors, music, and shopping in summer and fall

Third Thursday evenings to see food trucks; live music in the Mini-Park

Cherryville’s Main Street will come alive on third Thursdays of the summer and fall months with food trucks, live music, and special shopping deals. The first event will be Thursday, May 18, from 6 to 8 p.m. That evening, in the Mini-Park, the featured food trucks will be set up, the wine and beer garden will be going on, and the music will be by Blew Money. Main Street merchants will be open and offering special deals as well.
“We want to make Main Street a summer evening destination for our citizens,” said David Day, Cherryville’s Downtown Director.
Day said that in addition to the food, music, and shopping deals, residents can enjoy the ever-improving amenities of the Mini-Park.
“We’re working on new and more seating for our summer events,” said Day. “Plus, we now have free WiFi in the Mini-Park. Our new living art wall is beginning to grow and will make a beautiful natural art piece for the Mini-Park.”
For more information, Day said citizens may call the Main Street office at (704) 435-3451.
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Eleven of the Cherryville 5K medalists take a minute to pose for a group photo at the YMCA 5K finish line.

Cherryville Family “Y” says 5K;
Bubble Run event a great success

Spring is a great time to get outside
and run!


Associate Executive Director of the Pharr Family YMCA and Cherryville Family YMCA, Josey Messer, said their April 5K and Bubble Run was a great success.
And, as the YMCA noted on their web site when recruiting runners for the event, “It’s spring and a great time to get outside.” YMCA race organizers noted also they “…are excited to get back together and challenge (folks) to run or walk through the rolling hills of Cherryville.
The race began and ended, as it has now for the past few years pre- and now, post-COVID, at Cherryville’s First Presbyterian Church, which is located on the corner of Academy and Mountain Street. It then headed northeast, noted Mr. Messer, towards Cherryville Elementary School. After the race he said everyone celebrated “together at the finish line with music and snacks!”
The Saturday, April 29 1-Mile Bubble Run started at 9 a.m., and the 5K Walk/Run began immediately afterwards at 10 a.m., said Messer.
As the race has always been, it was again advertised as a “Dog-friendly event” with all dogs, big or small, welcome to run with their masters, so Messer
See RUN, Page 2
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said the word went out early on for all who wished to do so, to bring their pup in order to let them get in on the exercise and fun. There was a caveat though, he added, as all dogs must be kept on a fixed-length leash. The good news for the racing pooches was the first dog to cross the finish line received a Top Dog tag.
Fees for the 5K participants were $25 with the Bubble Run participants fees being $15.
The race was sponsored by Piedmont Lithium (Title Sponsor); FleetNet America Cox Automotive/Mobility (Silver Sponsor); and Shoe Carnival of Gastonia (Bronze Sponsor), Messer noted.
“We had 72 runners, and around eight dogs, and raised $4,000 dollars for our Cherryville YMCA,” said Josey.
“The money goes towards our annual campaign, supporting youth programs, our Live Strong Program for cancer survivors, and it also helps those who could not be a part of our family without some help.”
Messer continued, “We had a super time and everyone had fun. You could not have asked for better weather. The Bubble Mile was one of the best things to watch, seeing our youth run for a cause and – of course – bubbles.”
Messer concluded by saying, “I cannot thank Cherryville enough for showing up Saturday with volunteers and runners.”
If you wish to know more about the Cherryville YMCA or how to join, there is a standing invitation to come by and see their new building and talk with either Messer or one of the “Y” staffers who are there and are very helpful. You can also call them at (704) 445-9622.
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This huge, 100-plus year-old willow oak tree fell last week onto the front of the Carolyn Petri house on W. Church St., across from St. John’s Lutheran Church of Cherryville. No one was hurt in spite of the family being at home when the 4:30 a.m. accident happened. (photo by MEP/The Eagle/CF Media)

Huge tree falls on Cherryville home; no injuries reported


At 4:23 in the morning one day last week, homeowner Carolyn Petri and her family received a huge and not-so-pleasant surprise when a large willow oak that had stood for a long time outside the front of their home on W. Church St. in Cherryville, toppled over onto their house, crushing the front porch and the inside of the home.
Ms. Petri said she has had the home since 1993 and they just moved back into the house after fixing it up. Her son, Ronnie, had debris on him from the front of the home being destroyed by the tree, which also tore up a section of the sidewalk in front of the home.
“He was sleeping in the front room when it happened,” she said. “I am so thankful he wasn’t hurt, just shaken up, as we all are.”
The tree appears to be roughly 100 years or more old she noted. She called the tree trimming company of J. Douglas Tree Service, LLC, who came out and began trimming the huge tree back as quickly as possible without causing it to settle any more than it already had.
Company owner Mr. Jeffrey Douglas and his crew had been working on the tree since lunch time, they said, trimming away the small and large branches and limbs. The tree trimmers were: Nick Jones (doing the bucket cutting work); Ian Spencer; and Robert Bowen.
A friend of Ms. Petri, Richard Hopple, said, as did Ms. Petri, they had no idea about what the estimate of damages to the home is at that time, waiting on word from an insurance company.
No primary wires came down as a result of the tree falling as it went toward the house and away from the street, and no other homes were affected by the fall.
As of the weekend (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday) the tree appears to have been removed and the house has been covered with a tarp to keep out the forecast rain that is supposed to come this week.
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Cherryville Mayor H.L. Beam, III, asks everyone at the Friday night, April 21, Cherry Blossom Festival start, “Are you ready to party!?” as the band, Cat5, kicks out the jams! (photos by MEP/CF Media/The Eagle)

2023 Cherry Blossom Festival – the 31st – had a “great to be back!” feel

People were just waiting for the much-loved festival to come back
“full force”


The 2023 Cherry Blossom Festival – the 31st – was back, and in earnest. as crowds of people who were unable to come out during and after the COVID-19 pandemic’s shutdown of the venerable festival turned out for a little food, camaraderie, and general fun in the sun last weekend.
Event mastermind and general mover and shaker, Cherryville Chamber of Commerce’s Mary Beth Tackett, Downtown Director David Day, as well as a host of her fellow Chamber staffers and C-of-C members, i.e. Gary Dellinger, Hannah Garrett and, well… a whole host of others (too numerous to name in this article!) all came out to make sure this year’s iteration of the much-loved (and much-missed!) festival – the 31st – made up for lost time. And it pretty much did, by all accounts of those who came out on Friday, April 21 and Saturday, April 22, to see and be seen.
While waiting for the entertainment for Friday’s event to begin, a local Cherryville soul, who asked that his name not be used, said, “This here (gestures with hand to crowd gathering in the mini-park stage area)? This is what I wanted to see more’n anything! This is always good to see. Everybody coming out to the Cherry Blossom Festival and having a good time!”
That sentiment appeared to be the general theme for those who came back, ate food from the food trucks and vendors, bought the toys and whose kids played on the inflatables, and then stayed to listen to the bands play great beach music and old-time rock and roll.
Friday’s band was Cat5, with some platter-spinning by DJ Johnny B (aka John Barkley), and Saturday’s band was the Shelby-based group Dirty Grass Soul.
Mayor H.L. Beam, III, took the stage prior to Cat5’s opening numbers to thank everyone for coming out and to thank the sponsors of the Cherry Blossom Festival; the City of Cherryville, and Bob Barker and Patrick O’Leary, who generously gave to make sure this year’s festival would go forward.
“Are you ready to party!?” Mayor Beam asked everyone gathered in front of the mini-park stage. “I can’t hear you. Are you ready to PARTY!?” This time the crowd roared their assent back to Mr. Beam, noting they were, indeed, ready to party!
Mayor Beam continued, “Mr. Bob Barker has sponsored this stage and festival for a number of years, and we want to thank Mr. O’Leary for his sponsorship as well. The Stroupe Family sponsored the Cat5 band and we also want to thank them as well.”
Additionally, Mayor Beam noted the kid’s play area was sponsored by Carolina Federal Credit Union. Mayor Beam closed his remarks by telling everyone to enjoy themselves and thanking them again for coming to the 2023 Cherry Blossom Festival. The Miss Cherry Blossom Festival Pageant was held at the Community Building on Friday too.
Mrs. Tackett said the tee-shirt design was by Ginger Weathers, adding the Chamber had sold a number of the shirts prior to the actual opening day of the festival. Along with Mrs. Tackett at the tee-shirt booth, were Hannah Garrett, of Carpenter – Porter Funeral and Cremation Services, a long-time Chamber member; Felicia Bowman, and Mrs. Tackett’s daughter, Bailey.
Cherryville businessman and Chamber member and worker, Mike Clark, said of the festival, “So far, everything is going great times two!” Clark was helping man the alcohol sales area where, once you purchased a wrist band, you could purchase either beer or wine, and walk around the festival with the drink.
Cherryville Police Department officers as well as Gaston County Sheriff’s were on hand to insure no one went beyond the confines of the festival’s parameters with an alcoholic beverage and to make sure everyone was safe.
On Saturday, the inclement weather sadly caused the much-loved Antique Car Show to have to cancel their date, but C. Grier Beam Truck Museum co-directors Kathy and Stan Bumgarner said the show would most likely be rescheduled, although an actual date had not been discussed at that point.
Also on Saturday, the eating contests (Cherry Pie/Dessert-eating; Lottaburger; etc.) took place and the Gaston Symphonic Band was scheduled to perform. In addition to the food and beverage vendors already on site, arts and crafts vendors sat up on Main Street and sold their many wares. Other local businesses also had tents and booths lining Main Street as well. The Cherryville Branch Library was present, with Ms. Traci and Ms. Candy giving out free gifts and great advice on how to become a lifetime reader and library visitor.
Miss Traci said they had a good number of people come by, adding it was great to see so many folks come out, in spite of the rain earlier.
Downtown Director David Day was out Saturday and said, “Last night (Friday) was awesome! We had a great crowd come out to hear the band. It was great!” Day added he felt the Saturday crowds, which were just then getting started, were “beginning to get larger.”
With the end of this year’s CBF, the Chamber staff and Cherryville City crew are looking ahead to next year’s Cherry Blossom Festival. And – as always – plans are already being ;laid for that one… once the Fourth of July and all those other fantastic Cherryville festivals and events pass and things move along as time goes by.
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Brandon Hunsucker, with wife, Shelley, and son, Lane at his swearing in. With him is his dad and step-mom, Ken and Jean Hunsucker.

Last Monday’s reg. council session sees new CPD Chief sworn in

Cherryville Realtor Vickie Spurling
recognized as a NC Main Street


On Monday night, April 10, Cherryville city council met in regular session to swear in the new Cherryville Police Chief and to recognize employees’ years of service and to talk about Mrs. Vickie Spurling, a Cherryville Main Street Champion.
Mayor H.L. Beam, III gave his comments and council asked new Cherryville Police Chief Brandon Hunsucker and his family to the front for his swearing in. With him were his wife, Shelley, and son, Lane. Chief Hunsucker’s father, Ken, pinned him as his step-mother, Jean, looked on. Ken Hunsucker, many will remember, was a former City of Cherryville police chief. City Clerk Paige Green conducted the swearing in. They are the first father and son duo who have been Chiefs of Police in this city.
Chief Hunsucker recited the following oath: “I, Brandon Hunsucker, do solemnly swear that I will support and maintain the Constitution and laws of the United States; that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to the City of Cherryville and the State of North Carolina not inconsistent herewith, and to the constitutional powers and authorities of which are or may be established for the government thereof; that I will endeavor to support, maintain, and defend the laws and Constitution of said State, and the Charter of the City of Cherryville; and that I will well and truly execute the office of Chief of Police to the best of my knowledge and ability, according to law. So help me, God.”
Chief Hunsucker said afterwards, “I consider it an honor to have been chosen for the position of Chief of Police for the City of Cherryville, and I appreciate the confidence that has been placed in me to lead Cherryville Police Department. I want Cherryville to be a place that citizens can and will feel safe to live, work, and play. Cherryville is a unique community with a lot of old traditions that make it such a great place to call home.”
Council also recognized city employee Thomas Stinnette for his 15 years of service to the City of Cherryville.
Council also recognized Realtor Vickie Spurling for her NC Main Street Champion Award, given to her at a Main Street meeting on March 16, 2023.
The following was read and presented to her: “Long time Main Street Realtor Vickie Spurling is a linchpin in the ongoing resurgence of downtown Cherryville. As a passionate advocate for historic preservation, Vickie has long chaired the city board approving multiple renovation projects. And, much more  significantly,  Vickie has worked with an entrepreneur to oversee the complete renovation of three historic structures – with even more on the way. With the present gleaming renovations complete, and as an active member of our economic vitality team, Vickie worked diligently to recruit multiple new businesses and apartment dwellers. As excitement builds in our downtown, Vickie leads day-to-day as a tireless volunteer at virtually every downtown event. No job is ever too small or too large for her to tackle. As a prominent member of our community and as a passionate Main Street advocate, Vickie proactively promotes downtown to local and state leaders.
“Because of her tireless and fruitful efforts to revitalize our downtown, Cherryville – Where Life Blossoms – is proud to recognize Vickie Spurling as our NC Main Street Champion.
“Vickie has overseen the contractors’ work and the design of 12 renovations and assures us they are in line with the historic preservation of our Main Street. Vickie is Chair of our Architectural Review Board and on the Economic Vitality Committee. She is the first to volunteer for projects, festivals, and events. Her efforts were influential in obtaining a $100,000 donation to purchase outdoor furniture, park updates, and items for public spaces. She is passionate about our Main Street and has its best interest at her core. Her zeal, along with donated funds, from an entrepreneur have brought 6 new, 2nd floor apartments and over 14 businesses to our Main Street. She is overseeing the new 9 apartment revitalization of our 3-story old post office to become 8 additional apartments. She helped in the renovation of several historic buildings and the relocation of the YMCA to enhance new areas of Main Street. Vickie volunteers and gets her hands dirty. She’s planted flowers and has been seen picking up trash as she walks to construction sites. She speaks with our City Council and the Mayor frequently about the progress in our downtown area and is involved in many community events. Her passion for Main Street is prevalent in all she does and our ciwty is extremely proud of her work and the accomplishments she has and will continue to make for our city. Congratulations to Vickie Spurling from this council and from all our citizens for this award and thank you for all you do for our city.”
City Manager Brian Dalton noted the public hearing on the proposed relinquishment of the ETJ (extra-territorial jurisdiction) of a group of properties to Gaston County for Piedmont Lithium has been tabled until May.
Next on the agenda was the proposed murals and sidewalk ordinances issue, which Marketing Coordinator Steve Panton noted passed. The amended wording is as follows: “No person shall paint or mark any sign, advertising or other marking upon the pavement, curb or sidewalk constituting part of a pubic street. (Sec. 24-6)”
Council dealt with the date change of the joint work session/budget work session (April 25), and other business before adjourning.
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In this pre-pandemic photo, the Mountain Street entrance to the Museum showcases a couple of vintage Chevrolets: a pickup and a Corvette Sting Ray. (2018 Eagle file photo by Michael E. Powell)

22nd Annual C. Grier Beam Truck Museum Antique Car Show

Event is titled, “Remember the Pick-up” and starts Saturday, April 22 at 9 a.m.


C. Grier Beam Truck Museum co-directors Stan and Kathy Bumgarner said they are excited and looking forward to once again hosting the Museum’s annual Antique Car Show.
In a recent media release, Mrs. Bumgarner noted, “The 22nd Annual C. Grier Beam Truck Museum Antique Car Show will take place on Saturday, April 22, 2023 from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m.,” with the theme of this year’s show being, “Remember the Pick-up”.
Kathy also noted that all vehicle entries must be 25 years old to enter, adding, “This year, three classes of cars will be judged – Original, Modified and Pick-up truck. Trophies will be awarded to the top three winners of each class.”
She also noted that all three classes will be eligible for a chance at the “Best of Show” award. Additionally, dash plaques and “goody bags” will be given to the first 50 entries.
“The registration fee is $20, in advance, and $25 on the day of the show,” she said. “Car Show registration begins at 8 a.m. Trophies will be presented at 12:45 p.m.”
The Bumgarners are proud to say the C. Grier Beam Truck Museum is “…an ideal host with its own collection of antique trucks and trucking memorabilia,” and “is open to the public with no admission charge.”
Kathy noted also that Mountain Street will be closed to traffic so viewers can browse the vintage car display, tour the Truck Museum and enjoy the Cherry Blossom Festival, sponsored by the Cherryville Chamber of Commerce.
“There is something for everyone, including food vendors, live music, crafts and great classic cars and trucks,” she said.
Anyone interested in participating in this event may call the Museum at (704) 435-3072 for further details. A registration form is also available at
The museum is located at 111 N. Mountain St., Cherryville, NC.  Operating hours are Thursday through Saturday, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
For after hours information folks are asked to please contact Mr. Stan Bumgarner at (704) 214-0955, or send an email to
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A host of VIPS – officials and dignitaries all – stood in front of the stage as Mayor H.L. Beam, III cut the ribbon last Saturday, April 1, 2023, officially opening Main Street once again, up for business. (photo by MEP/The Eagle/CF Media)

Friday’s April 1st Main Street’s grand reopening a gala affair

No “April Fool’s”  here – after being closed for construction for over a year, downtown area now back up and running


Well, as was promised, Cherryville’s new, beautiful downtown Main Street area is officially back open for business!
As per a media release a couple of weeks back, Downtown Director David Day, was proud to announce that “…after more than a year of construction downtown,” Cherryville’s Main Street hosted a number of dignitaries and city and chamber staff, as well as many with the Main Street Program, who were influential and extremely helpful and giving of their time and money in order to see Cherryville’s Main Street project have the new grand re-opening and ribbon cutting this past Saturday.
Cherryville’s First Baptist Church pastor, the Rev. Dr. Vince Hefner welcomed everyone to the event, gave the opening prayer, and also introduced the various speakers who were on the dais. The Rev. Dr. Bill Lowe, pastor of Cherryville’s First Presbyterian Church, gave the closing prayer.
Music was provided by the band, Ocean Boulevard and there were several food trucks on-site.
Beer and wine was also be available and the day’s festivities included an antique car show and a golf cart parade.
Downtown director Day noted the grand opening was “…the culmination of many years of work by city leaders.”
Day continued in his earlier media  release  that the City of Cherryville “…owes this great day in part to the vision, hard work, and meticulous planning by many city leaders. But mostly, we owe this day to our citizens. They voted for the projects and then were patient with all the disruptions.”
Previously, Mr. Day noted the re-opening was rescheduled from November when a hurricane warning forced its cancellation.
The National Anthem was sung by crowd favorite and Cherryville talent, Mr. Preston Long.
Dr. Hefner introduced Mayor H.L. Beam, III, who said, “It has been a lengthy journey. We are her to celebrate this milestone. Every citizen, everyone, every city staff member and employee, every council member has been great. Our merchants have been great and patient with us. Thank you for that.”
Mayor Beam went on to talk about the many contributions of those who directed the Main Street project since its 2012 inception; to Andy West in 2014, and the Main Street CMSP committee heads, to the various Cherryville City Managers from Ben Blackburn, who spoke, on through Jeff Cash, down to today’s City Manager, Brian Dalton, for all of their hard work and vision for the city.
Mayor Beam also noted the great contributions by men and women of vision: Mr. and Mrs. Bob Barker; Mr. and Mrs. Patrick O’Leary; Chris and Vickie Spurling; and so many others who he said didn’t allow him to enumerate.
Mayor Beam continued talking about all that has been done for the city where life blossoms, ending by noting that, “…downtown will continue to. Thank you all for coming out and for your attendance here today! God bless Cherryville!”
Councilwoman Jill Parker-Puett spoke, echoing Mayor Beam, adding, “It took the many volunteers on the committees to get this to happen. Our town received many awards for what has been done, and is still being done. We wouldn’t be where we are today without volunteers. They brought our dreams to fruition. I especially want to thank my council I serve with; our public works people. Everyone has endured!”
Former City Manager Ben Blackburn spoke next saying, “What a great day to be in Cherryville! I am proud to be from Cherryville!”
Mr. Blackburn talked about the city’s economic development and how it progressed and grew in spite of setbacks such as no access to a four-lane highway. The city, he noted, capitalized on its rich history, adding that when the city reached out to the Main Street folks, Cherryville was “…accepted on its first try!”, being the only community so accepted. He talked about looking forward from what we have already done to what we HAVE done and continue to do as well as what is to come.
Current CMPS Director Donna Beringer spoke next, saying, “What a wonderful day”, in spite of the high winds that blew through Main Street. She noted that without the leadership of Andy West the city “…probably wouldn’t be here” where it is at today. She too thanked the many city leaders who had the foresight to see the project through; the many private investors, and the many citizens who supported this project.
Cherryville physician, Dr. Thomas R. White, said that growing up in Cherryville he remembered reading once in the town’s newspaper, The Cherryville Eagle, at the time, that they called it “the Little City With The Big Future!”, adding that the city was also called “5,280 feet (or one mile) of good people.”
He continued, “We are getting bigger in some ways. There are many reasons to come back home. I want also to thank the city’s employees. Without the past, we wouldn’t be here. Progress is hard; progress is embracing the past.”
The ribbon was cut by Mayor H.L. Beam, and the event followed up with the listed golf cart parade and music by Ocean Boulevard kicked off the rest of the night’s festivities.

(Additional information for this article is by Susan L. Powell)
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The JCMS Robotics class and their teacher, who were the champions at the 2023 RoboGASTON robotics competition last week pose for a photo with school board members and the superintendent of Gaston County Schools. They are (left to right): Adelae Cheek, John Chavis Middle School Principal Matt Rikard, Amber Brittain, Angel Martinez, Gaston County School Board members Dot Cherry and Jeff Ramsey, Mallie Emerson, Micaela Burgueno, Gaston County Schools Superintendent Dr. W. Jeffrey Booker, Alexis Dobson, Riley Szymborski, and JCMS class instructor, Eric Miller. (photo by Brian Mayhew)

JCMS Robotics kids are champs at 2023 RoboGASTON competition

March 4 event at Forestview was a great place to show off their STEM skills


A group of talented students at John Chavis Middle School became the 2023 champions at this year’s RoboGASTON competition held on Saturday, March 4, at Forestview High School.
Class instructor Eric Miller said generally of the competition, “There is a coach at every school. Some have two or more. It is voluntary; we do not receive any money for coaching. We can select as many students as you wish but only 10 can go to the competition so I only chose 10. There is a selection process. I have the students that want to be on the team fill out an application and they have to get a teacher to fill out a Recommendation Form. This is usually the hardest part of my job, trying to pick the 10 that I think will work hard and be a good team member. I usually start the selection process around the middle of September as this gives the teachers and myself a chance to get to know the students and their work ethic.”
Miller said he and the kids practiced after school once a week, usually on Wednesdays until 5 p.m.
As for the actual competition, Miller noted it “…consists of three parts; the Robot Performance challenge, the Innovation Project, and a Teamwork Challenge.”
He continued, “There is an individual winner for each and then the combined scores of all three is how they determine the overall winner and the runner up.”
Diane Price, Director of Academically Intellectually Gifted Program, Department for Exceptional Children, said in an email regarding GCS’ robotics program’s inception and such, “Gaston County Schools began its robotics journey in 2011-2012 as a 21st Century learning opportunity with a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) focus.
 Twelve teams across seven schools participated in a First Lego League Robotics Competition Program which provided a hands-on learning experience. Students learned teamwork, as well as math, science, computer programming and critical thinking skills in a fun environment. Every elementary school with a 4th and 5th grade and every middle school now has a team; growing the number to 38 teams in 2022-2023! We are very proud of the fact that our Robotics competition has become a tradition in Gaston County Schools! This year is our 11th event! The robotics teams consist of up to 10 students. As a team, they work together to design and build a robot. They write computer programs to make their robot complete required missions. Teams conduct research on a topic and present their learning to a panel of judges.”
She also noted she believes (“is pretty sure”) Chavis “…has participated since 2013” and was a Middle School Runner Up in 2016 and 2022.
Coach Miller agreed, adding, “This is the first time that Chavis has won the overall award. Last year we won the Middle School Runner Up award. Chavis was Runner Up in 2016 and got 1st place in the Robot Performance in 2015, but I wasn’t the coach for the last two.”
As for the points system, Miller said, “You get points for completing a mission. You have 2.5 minutes to complete as many as possible. We came in second place in the robot challenge with 190 points, losing the overall by five (5) points.  The judges use a different scoring method so you have to convert it.”
Coach Miller said this is his fourth year coaching robotics at Chavis, adding, “I teach Technology and this is my fifth year (here). I also coach golf and the boys track and field team and I help a little with the wrestling team.”
Coach Miller said they started with 10 members, “…but one quit and two could not make it so, we had seven (7) for the competition. I am the coach and (student) Amber Brittain was voted by her teammates to be the Team Captain.”
In addition to Coach Miller and Team Captain Brittain, other JCMS robotics team members were: Adelae Cheek, Angel Martinez, Mallie Emerson, Micaela Burgueno, Alexis Dobson, and Riley Szymborski.
Team member Alexis Dobson said her favorite part of the event was, “Probably winning, even though building the robot and programming it was fun. Us winning was really exciting.” When asked if she would like to go farther with robotics, she replied, “Maybe, I haven’t really thought that far yet. However robotics is super fun and I feel like I could design for robotics. It seems really interesting.”
Adelae Cheek answered the questions as follows: “Definitely preparing for the competition because we got to know each other and bonded but we now also know that the teamwork caused our win.” As for going farther in robotics, she noted, “No, because that may be a hobby but it is not what I would consider a job for me later in life.”
Team member Mallie Emerson said, “The most exciting part for me in the competition was going to the gym where we did the robot run.” As for her going forward in the field of robotics, she said, “I personally will not be working in the field of robots but it was really awesome!”
Micaela Burgueno said, “Winning was the most exciting part of the competition,” and she added, “I would love to go further into working with robots and designing them.”
Riley Szymborski noted, “The most exciting part of this competition for me was getting to know my partners and learning new skills. The skill I have learned was not just learning how to build robots but what it means to work
together as a team.”
Riley continued, “I would have to decline (pursuing robotics in the future) because I’ve already set all of my goals, and what I’m going to do when I am older; I have many career choices, like interior design, cooking, (and) sewing. I’m very good at all of these things and would love to pursue them in the future.”
Amber Brittain said, “The most exciting part of the competition for me was winning. It was not expected, to be honest. I would
love to go further into robotics later during my education.”
Angel Martinez said, “My favorite part about the competition is preparing the 'bot’ for competition.” He added, “Yeah, I would love to do robotics in the future, like designing them.”
As for what’s up next for the JCMS robotics wizards, Coach Miller said, “The competition concluded the season. However, it was a great end as our Principal, Mr. Rikard, honored them with pizza for lunch and is getting a banner and individual trophies for the team.”
Principal Rikard said of his robotics coach and students’ win, “Although we are the smallest school entered in this (competition), we won the championship. I am very, very proud of them and of Mr. Miller for working so hard to get this win. They did a great job!”
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The young ladies of the Dixie Girls Softball teams braved a very cold Saturday, March 18 morning as they filed out onto C.V. Thornburg Field at Ballard Park for the opening day ceremony of the 2023 DGSB season. (photo by MEP/The Eagle/CF Media)

Dixie Girls Softball have Opening Day ceremonies Saturday, March 18

In spite of the cold weather all the young ladies came ready and excited to play ball!


Although it was a cold March day last Saturday, the sky was somewhat blue with a few clouds and everyone was excited to see the start of another year of Dixie Girls Softball.
C.V. Thornburg Field at Ballard Park saw 146 girls of all ages and sizes happily come out to welcome another year of amazing youth softball. Along with them were their equally excited and supportive parents, grandparents and friends and family who always come out to watch as another year gets under way.
DGSB President Daniel McBride and many board members were on hand to start things out with the line-up of the girls and to hear opening day comments, a prayer, and the National Anthem get things going.
Pastor Will Upchurch prayed God’s blessing on those in attendance and asked Him to watch over everyone and let this games be played in a spirit of good sportsmanship and fun, then McKenzie Auten sang the National Anthem. McBride asked the young ladies to give their parents, grandparents and guardians a big hand, which they did happily.
“We are all here,” noted McBride, “to support the girls!”
He went on to welcome the representative’s of the city, Mayor Pro-Tem and Councilwoman Jill Parker-Puett and Councilman Jon Abernethy. He also welcomed and thanked those on the DGSB Board; Matthew Anthony (VP); Sandy Cunningham (Commissioner); and Connie Metwally (treasurer); as well as Anjelica Cunningham, Wes and Dorothy Brown, Nicole Walker, Nicole Ogle, Natalie Poston, Pam McSwain, Mark Watson, and Michael Philbeck.
Mr. McBride then went on to call all the girls and their coaches onto the field by their team, starting with the “T-ball” division, the Sweetees, then the Coach Pitch division, the Darlings, followed by the 10U division, the Angels; the 12U division, the Ponytails; and the 15U division, the Belles-Debs.
Daniel and Mark Watson thanked their supporters and businesses, asking folks to in turn support these businesses whose names appear on the shirts of the young ladies playing Dixie Girls Softball.
Mrs. Puett spoke and said, “Cherryville is a ball town, whether baseball or softball. everywhere I go when I travel for the city, people know that’s who we are and what we support. Without the parents, families, and coaches, all of this would not be possible. Thank you so much for your support. Without you, none of this would be possible. We are proud of you all.”
McBride then recognized candy sales prize winners. The three young ladies were Sadie Patterson; Kaitlyn Coleman; and Gracie Canipe. Two young ladies who also received great prizes were Allison Gozalkowski and Brooklyn Cunningham.
The first pitch was thrown out by DGSB’s own World Series Champion Head Coach, Matthew Anthony, who pitched to his daughter, Faith.
“Faith played here for years,” said Daniel, adding, “And she is now giving back by umpiring and coaching.”
There are three Sweetees teams, sponsored by the following businesses: Rustic Roots Salon & Spa; Ferguson Ace Hardware; and Carolina Federal Credit Union; three Darlings teams, sponsored by the following businesses: Shamrock Accounting; Phil’s Starter; and the Knights of Pythias; two Angels teams, sponsored by the following businesses: Georgia Beas Boutique, and Carpenter – Porter Funeral Home; two Ponytails’ teams, sponsored by: Long Creek Presbyterian Church and Charming Travels, LLC; and two Belles-Debs teams, sponsored by Shamrock Sound Design and Turner Animal Clinic.
McBride noted the leagues’ regular season started Monday, March 20, adding there are no games during the Easter Break (Monday, April 10 through Friday, April 14).
“The mid-season tournament will be Saturday, April 22 and the end-of-season tournament will be held on Saturday, June 3. The District Two Tournament is on Friday, June 16 through Sunday, June 18, and will be hosted by Bessemer City. The North Carolina State Tournament will be from July 7 to July 12,” he said.
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The finish line for the 2022 Cherryville Family Y’s 5K race was at the side of the First Presbyterian Church. (Eagle/CF Media file photo by Michael E. Powell)

Cherryville’s Family YMCA looking for 5K Walk/Run sign-ups

The famed Cherry Blossom 5K and
Bubble Run is scheduled for April 29


Officials, “Y” members and staff, and anyone who has ever run the now-famous Cherry Blossom 5K race and Bubble Run want everyone interested in running for a great cause to know… it is almost time for the big race to take place!
According to information received from Sarah Shriver, Marketing and Communications Director for the Gaston County Family YMCA, “The Cherryville Family YMCA is passionate about health and wellness and what being part of the community can do for your physical and mental health. We believe that everyone in the community should have a ‘Y’ experience through ‘Y’ membership and programs no matter their ability to pay.”
Shriver continued, “Cherry Blossom 5K sponsorships support ‘Y’ programs and services in the Cherryville community, including summer day camp and afterschool. In 2023, the YMCA is working to raise funds to strengthen the foundation of community by providing access to ‘Y’ programs and services, creating access to much needed financial assistance, and collaborating to provide access to programs while sustaining the YMCA throughout Gaston County. With your help we can better support our community.”
Shriver said this year’s race is presented by Piedmont Lithium, adding, “It’s spring and a great time to get outside. We are excited to get back together and challenge you to run or walk through the rolling hills of Cherryville!”
As it has always done in the past, this year’s race will begin and end at the First Presbyterian Church of Cherryville, which
 is located on the corner of Academy and Mountain Streets (107 W. Academy St.), before heading northeast towards Cherryville Elementary School. Shriver said they runners “…will celebrate together at the finish line with music and snacks!”
The race is slated to be held on Saturday, April 29, starting with the 9 a.m. 1-Mile Bubble Run, followed by the 10 a.m. 5K Walk/Run. It goes without saying this is a dog-friendly event, noted Ms. Shriver, who added, “Dogs are welcome! Bring your pup and let them get in on the exercise and fun! Dogs must be kept on a fixed-length leash. The first dog to cross the finish line will receive a Top Dog tag!”
There is a fee associated with the race which is as follows: 5K participants – $25; and Bubble Run participants – $15. All must register by April 14 to get their race tee-shirt, said Shriver.
As for the 1-Mile Bubble Run, Shriver noted, “We are adding some BUBBLE-RIFIC fun to the 1-mile race! Come out with your kiddos – both young and young at heart – and run through bubbles at the beginning and end of the race! Bring some bubbles with you! We would love to add as many bubbles and smiles to the race as possible.”
So far as awards are concerned, Shriver noted trophies will be given to the top male and female runners and medals will be given to the top three males and females ages 9 and under,
and in 10-year increments, for all registered for a timed race. First dog to finish gets a “Top Dog” tag.
All Cherryville Family YMCA proceeds from the race will benefit the Cherryville Family YMCA Annual Giving Campaign which provides access to ‘Y’ programs and services for individuals in need of financial assistance as well as sustaining the ‘Y’ in Cherryville. Shriver said the ‘Y’ is passionate about community and what being part of a small group can do for your spirit.
To learn more about the YMCA’s Cherry Blossom 5K and Bubble Run sponsorship opportunities, or for more information or to sponsor, please contact Molly D’Avria at
The Cherryville Family YMCA, located at 215 N. Mountain St., in Cherryville, is a non-profit organization committed to helping you live a balanced, healthy life in spirit, mind and body. The new 5,700 square foot Mountain Street location offers accessible multi-space parking lot, spacious restrooms and showers, community coffee area and attached group exercise space to bring the YMCA mission to life.
You can call them at (704) 445-9622.
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Tony and Janine Sas, owners and operators of Scooter’s Coffee Dive-Thru, stand in front of their business, having just cut the ribbon on their business, one of Cherryville’s newest, located at 2507 Lincolnton Hwy., in front of Walmart. With them are a host of Cherryville City and Gaston County officials, as well as Scooter’s employees and well-wishers. (photo by MEP/The Eagle/CF Media)

Scooter’s Coffee Drive-Thru opens in Cherryville

New store celebrates with Grand Opening, Friday, March 3


Transplanted New Yorkers Tony and Janine Sas had a ribbon cutting and Grand Opening event last Friday, March 3, as their Scooter’s Coffee, franchise hosted Cherryville city officials and Gaston County officials as well.
Scooter’s, best known (as per a media release) for “…its amazingly fast drive-thru, specialty coffee, and baked-from-scratch pastries,” added a new location at 2507 Lincolnton Hwy., in Cherryville, in front of the Walmart. By way of celebrating the event, the drive-thru location allowed customers to get half off any drink when they pay with the Scooter’s Coffee mobile app!
Tony and Janine Sas noted the drive-thru location is the first unit in N.C., adding they are “very excited” about being in Cherryville and in N.C.
Sas, a retired NYC firefighter, and his wife, Janine, both had words of high praise for the folks of Cherryville and the state, saying how friendly everyone is, always waving and saying, “Hi!”
The Sas’s continued, “We chose Scooter’s because of their core values of Integrity, Love, Humility and Courage. We love the small town feel of Cherryville and the people have been very receptive to our presence.”
Cherryville Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors Chairman, Pete Craft, welcomed the couple to Cherryville, saying, “We are always glad to see new businesses open in Cherryville.” He added the Chamber is here to support Scooter’s in any way, adding, “Your business is very important to us.”
Mayor H.L. Beam, III, agreed, adding, “Welcome Tony and Janine, and let me say this: I am very glad to know you all have your amazing coffee in the K-cups form, which I use all the time!”
Beam thanked the Sas’s for choosing Cherryville, bringing their unique product and business model to the town. He also thanked the various city staff members, city officials and city council members  present at the ribbon cutting, as well as all of the Gaston County officials who turned out for the event as well.
Tony said, “We’re overwhelmed! We can’t thank you enough for making us feel at home.” The couple moved to N.C. seven and a half months ago, he said.
Tony and Janine also noted they want to be more involved in the community, and are eager to do so.
The company currently has about 20 employees, he said.
“Our manager is Max Dove, and Noah Loveday and Sydney Sweetman are our shift leads.”
Scooter’s Coffee has been serving world-class coffee for more than 20 years and has over 500 locations in 28 states across the nation. Its signature drink is the Caramelicious, and the menu features an array of specialty espresso beverages, single-origin coffee, fruit smoothies, Red Bull Infusions, Cold Brew, baked-from-scratch pastries, and savory breakfast options.
For more information, Mr. Sas said to visit,,, or call 1 (877) 494-7004. Also, you can share your favorite moments by tagging @scooterscoffee using the hashtag
Scooter’s Coffee was founded in 1998 by Don and Linda Eckles in Bellevue, Nebraska.
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Cherryville Fire Chief Jason Wofford and Assistant Chief Colby Heffner and all those CFD crew members who attended or received awards at the Tuesday, Feb. 21 award ceremony at Cherryville’s First Baptist Church. (photo by MEP/The Eagle/CF Media)

Cherryville Fire Department Awards ceremony held Feb. 21 at First Baptist Church

City Manager Brian Dalton: “The Cherryville Fire Dept. always goes above and beyond what is asked of them by the City of Cherryville and the community.”


The Cherryville Fire Department was pleased to host their Award Ceremony once again after a hiatus and a virtual ceremony one year. Said Chief Jason Wofford, at the Tuesday, Feb. 21 event held at Cherryville’s First Baptist Church.
“I believe we skipped a year there one year and had a virtual ceremony also, both as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Chief Wofford.
The chief was one of many who welcomed firefighters and their families and friends to the 2022 Award Ceremony, held this year in First Baptist’s sanctuary. First Baptist pastor and CFD fire chaplain, the Rev. Dr. Vince Hefner opened the ceremony with a word of prayer and Chief Wofford, after his welcome, asked Cherryville City Manager Brian Dalton to speak.
“The Cherryville Fire Department always goes above and beyond what is asked of them by the City of Cherryville and the community,” noted Mr. Dalton. “We can always depend on them, the whole department, and on any organization they belong to.”
Assistant Chief Colby Heffner gave a department update by noting, “The year 2022 was a successful year for the Cherryville Fire Department. We totaled out the year with 1,174 calls for service, which was up 218 calls from the previous year. We will likely see this number continue to climb as our city experiences exponential growth. In the year 2022, our members logged 6,159 training hours and multiple members received new certifications and education which are as follows: Driver/Engineer Doyle Brown completed his NC Firefighter Certification; Assistant Chief Heffner obtained an NC Fire Inspector Level III Certification; Captain Bowman and Assistant Chief Heffner both received an NC Pyrotechnics Operator certification; and Captain Bowman completed his Associates degree from Cleveland Community College.”

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Cherryville City Council members listen to comments from individual speakers at last Monday night’s, Feb. 13 regular council session held at the Community Building. (photo by MEP/The Eagle/CF Media)

Cherryville Historical Museum primary topic of last Monday’s council meeting

CFD; CPD chiefs give End-of-Year (2022)
reports for their respective departments


While there weren’t all that many line-item topics on the Monday, Feb. 13, 2023 Council agenda, the biggest and most passionately discussed topic of the meeting – and the one that wasn’t listed on the agenda – was that of the Cherryville Historical Museum and its proposed sale by the City of Cherryville.
Pastor G. Scott Homesley of St. John’s Lutheran Church opened the meeting with a prayer, followed by the Pledge of Allegiance. After the council approved the past agendas, Mayor H.L. Beam, III commented the council would “…dispense with the Mayor’s Comments due to the number of people we have signed up to speak.”
Fire Chief Jason Wofford gave the 2022 End-of-Year Report to council, noting their total calls of 1,174 was “…up 200 (calls) from the previous year.” Chief Wofford also said, referencing a pie chart on the report, that their largest volume of calls was from Rescue & Emergency Management (46.42 percent), followed by Service Calls (36.37 percent).
“Fire losses amounted to $101,000,” Chief Wofford said. “Our off-duty response to calls were as follows: Assistant Chief Colby Heffner with 59 calls; myself with 36 calls; Trent Rayfield with 24 calls; Nathan Bowman with 23 calls; Jason Ledbetter with 8; Doyle Brown with 6; Kaylee drum with 3; and Chad Duvall with 2.”
Chief Wofford said the department is “slowly recovering from our COVID years.” He also noted the average time for them to get to a call was four minutes and 57 seconds with an average turnout time of one minute, 40 seconds. Total training hours, according to Chief Wofford, were 6,159.1, and certifications received by full-time personnel were by Doyle Brown, who received his NC Firefighter Certification; Colby Heffner, who received his Fire Inspector III, making him, the chief said, “…a full Fire Marshal.”
Chief Wofford continued, “Assistant Chief Colby Heffner and Capt. Nathan Bowman also received their NC Pyrotechnics Operator Certifications, and it is under their licenses we are able to do our fireworks for our July 4th celebration.”
Additionally, the CFD has completed 200 inspections.
Councilwoman Jill Parker-Puett congratulated Chief Wofford and his department on a job well done.
Cherryville’s new Chief of Police, Brandon Hunsucker, took the podium and gave the Police Department’s 2022 End-of-Year Report starting with an organizational chart.
Chief   Hunsucker   told council they had, in 2022, a total of 19,945 calls, most of which were security checks on businesses and residences (10,838).
“This was 1,300 more calls than we fielded in 2021,” he added. He noted their calls for fraud and forgeries had decreased and stood at 36 for 2022, with one call regarding a murder. Drug crimes, however, were the highest of the total 816 calls, with 130 reports logged. Chief Hunsucker acknowledged the number of arrests was down from 2021 (831) to just 429 because of the department being down two officers.
“I am pleased to report the total amount of drugs we have taken off the streets of Cherryville in 2022 amounts to 1,052.13 grams (37.5 ounces), with a street value of $108,670,” he said.
It was also noted to council the CPD was awarded a Bryne Discretionary Grant of $114,000 this past year through the Bureau of Justice Assistance. The grant, as Chief Hunsucker stated, “…will be used to repair the roof of the police department, along with some plumbing issues, at no cost to the city.” The Chief also said his telecommunications people were required by state standards to be state certified this year.
“This required all of them to take a weeklong training course and pass a state exam.”
Mayor Beam said of Chief Hunsucker, “He came in and started on a Monday and had a big drug bust. We are so proud to have you here.”
Councilman Malcolm Parker told Chief Hunsucker, “We are glad to have you.”
Regarding that drug bust on his first week in Cherryville, Chief Hunsucker said, “We hope to see this trend continue.”
Finance Director Dixie Wall went over 2022-2023 budget amendments changes, all of which the council voted on and approved unanimously.
Planning and Zoning Director Alex Blackburn spoke with council about property relinquishment of a total of 137.15 acres from the Extraterritorial Jurisdiction, or ETJ, to Gaston County for Piedmont Lithium on March 13, 2023. Mr. Blackburn said the listed property owners have all agreed and are in favor of said relinquishment.
In the Citizen’s to be Heard section of the council meeting, a number of Cherryville citizens spoke about the Cherryville Historical Museum, voicing their concerns about the possible sale of the building and what might happen to the city’s museum.
Mayor Beam said before things got started, “We are not here tonight to make a decision on the Cherryville Historical Museum. If we do have multiple upset bids on the building it may be March or even April before any decision is made.”
Representing Vicki Spurling Realty, Christy Ford read a letter to the council in which she referenced what has been spent so far on the Main Street Project, adding that any renovations are preservation-minded, noting how this makes new businesses excited about coming to Cherryville. She noted how a couple of clients have given hundreds of thousands of dollars to help with the preservation of not only the museum but other historic buildings on Main Street. She also noted how one of their clients has offered to the Cherryville Historic Society a building at 203 N. Mountain St., in which to showcase the museum’s artifacts.
Mr. Tom Moss complimented the city on the beautiful work done on the downtown but noted that now it was time to work on the rest of the city, most specifically the water lines
In response to this, City Manager Brian Dalton said the engineering is completed for a new water line on Hwy. 150 heading west from Mountain Street.
“This project should be put out for bid for a new water line in the next few months,” he added.
Former Cherryville Mayor Wade Stroupe commented that there are indeed a number of issues going on with the museum, but also encouraged everyone interested in the CHM to “get interested in that history.”
He continued, talking about what might be the best economic use of the property itself, asking, “…would it be better to have a restaurant that is open six or seven days a week generating income rather than a museum that is only open for four hours on Saturday. I encourage the council to make the best decision possible for the building based on all of the information available to them.”
Mike Dellinger spoke next, saying he was “…seeing too many eggs in one basket” regarding what is to be done with the CHM building and the exhibits. He referenced not enough security for the museum as well them needing a bigger building possibly.
He told council he was seeing “…too much stuff going (possible buyer Mr. Patrick O’Leary’s) way,” adding, “There has got to be a break somewhere! I mean, why this building? That’s just too much power in one hand.”
He concluded, after a bit more discussion, that, “This one building (the CHM) needs to be kept sacred, in my opinion any way. There’s just a lot of uncertainty about it.”
Cherryville Historic Association President Al Putnam brought a few exhibits from the museum for the council to see a bit of what is there. He noted to council the “building IS the museum”, adding, “The artifacts are part of the building and can’t be removed or taken.”
He talked about the names carved into the walls of the old jail, the museum’s five functions it had when it was built in 1911 (fire and police departments; jail; court room, and such), and basically gave a history of the building to let council know just some of the reasons why it doesn’t need to be bought and turned into a business or something other than what it currently is today.
Mike Jones, told council he is “…deeply concerned with the direction our town is going. Cherryville is deeply ingrained with tradition. The museum is one of the last original buildings in the city.”
Mr. Jones talked about his concerns with the current CHM society, who he termed “a rogue group who have taken over the museum”, adding how “good people have resigned because of the turmoil” in the ranks of the museum and its volunteers and members.
Jones said he wants to see the city “retain the building and get some authority over the museum.”
The mayor thanked everyone for speaking. City Manager Dalton then gave the presentation on the city’s finances then addressed the city’s paving issues which are scheduled to start soon.
There being no other business, the meeting was adjourned.
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CHS Ironmen head basketball coach Scott Harrill with his family, wife, Teresa, and sons, Lane (left) and Trevor (right).

Basketball coach Scott Harrill retires from coaching at CHS

Wants to, after 24 years coaching and 400-plus wins, “…take a couple of years off” to “see what the future holds…”


When you think of Cherryville Ironmen basketball these past 24 years, you automatically think of Coach Scott Harrill.
Seeing his tall, lanky frame pacing back and forth on the Nixon Gym sidelines, yelling directions, encouragement, and yes, sometimes fussing at either them or the refs, but always doing so as civilly as possible. No slinging of chairs; no throwing towels; and absolutely no foul language. That WOULD NOT BE Scott Harrill. Not the Scott Harrill we all know. Not by a long shot.
On Friday, Feb. 3, Coach Harrill coached his last regular season home game as the Ironmen played, and defeated, the Highland Tech Rams. He will officially retire from his coaching position at the 2023 season’s end. At half-time, and after the Senior Night celebration, Coach Harrill was met on the Bud Black Court, where a host of family, friends, and current and former players and coaches joined him to celebrate a life lived well on and off the court. He was presented with a silver trophy and a banner signed by all his current and former players and coaches, as well as family and friends.
In his storied career Coach Harrill became the winningest Gaston County basketball coach (with 412 wins), been a father to not only two great young men, Trevor and Lane Harrill, but also a father figure and mentor to many young men. He is the CHS Athletic Director (10 years and counting), and is always most proud when he is talking about his dear wife, Teresa and his two boys.
When asked how it feels to be retiring, Coach Harrill said, “It is bittersweet. I think that’s the best word for it. I’m excited about the future and I’m excited about having more time to spend with my family. Also, I want to take a couple of years off and see what the future holds.”
He also noted, “First let me thank my Lord and Savior for all the blessings he gives me in life. Second, (to) my wife Teresa; she completes me and keeps me grounded. My kids, Trevor and Lane, who have had to do without dad sometimes because I coach, but always loved being in the gym with me. My parents, Howard and Marie Harrill, who never miss games over all the years of playing and coaching. My sister, aunts and uncles, and all my friends and family. (To) Coach Antonio Griggs a young and great basketball mind, that I look forward to what the future holds for him. My fellow coaches Bud Black and Dennis Tate who have been with me in all the years.  My former players, who are like family to me! They are what this is all about – developing the relationships along the way that last a lifetime.  My friend and lifelong manager, the true Ironman, Lee Roy Montgomery, and his running mate, Will Gates. Let us never forget Terry Usery who kept the clock for many years until he passed away, and now Michael Philbeck, who makes the games run smoothly. To the many booster club workers and volunteers. The community of Cherryville and parents. Thank you for allowing me to Coach. And to the many principals along the way and the student section for the support, thank you all!”
Coach Harrill noted it’s all about the relationships that are built through the blood, sweat, and tears that happen every day on the court.
“That they know I truly cared and (they) saw me live out my faith both on and off the court. That they learn how to love their family and have their family involved in their work with them.  That they also wanted a relationship with Christ and let him be the coach for life!” he added.
His wife, Teresa, said, “I am so proud and honored to be Scott’s wife! I have enjoyed watching Scott coach all these years! Being a coach’s wife is rough sometimes but it’s also pretty neat, seeing your husband do what he loves and seeing the lives he touches each year of coaching.”
Son Trevor said, “Dad used to always tell me, ‘Never be late and always be five minutes early.’ He also always wanted me, Lane, and the rest of the Cherryville basketball family to always know that it was more than just playing basketball; he was teaching us life lessons.”
Lane said, “Everything he used to preach to all of his players since I was a little kid was, ‘Ironmen family is like his own family.’ He always told me to ‘…put in the work and the results will come to light.’ My dad was a one-of-a-kind mentor for the Cherryville community and I saw how many lives he impacted over his coaching career at CHS. Everyone that he coached to this day is family and always will be!”
Scott’s mom and dad, Marie and Howard Harrill, said of their son, “We are very proud of Scott and the career he’s had in coaching. His goal is to teach kids about life and he’s been privileged to do that through the game of basketball. He has taught them to hang in there when things get tough, to depend on and support family, and to not walk away from your responsibilities. We’ve watched Scott play or coach ball for the past 47 years! It has been a joy. We don’t know what his next adventure will be but we plan to be there supporting him and cheering him on!” Howard also noted they have been to “99 percent of all of his (Scott’s) games. He’s a really good coach and a great son. We love him so much!”
From Assistant coach and mentor, Dr. Bud Black: “Scott Harrill is the greatest high school basketball coach in Gaston County history. His record of 412 wins far exceeds any other high school basketball coach in Gaston County. However, coach Harrill is more than just a coach. He is a Christian who puts Christ and his family before other things in life. He follows this strong faith by sharing with the boys he coaches the importance of succeeding in the classroom and life. Throughout his career, he has always stressed being a good teammate and created a family atmosphere for the players and assistant coaches. May you enjoy your retirement from coaching high school basketball!”
From Asst. Coach Dennis Tate: “It has truly been a blessing to have worked with Scott every year that he has served as head coach. He is, and has been, God sent to oversee our basketball program and the thing I like most is his dedication to see the players grow and succeed in life and (be) productive in society.  Also, I’d like to thank Scott’s wife Teresa for allowing CHS to keep him away from home for so many years and (for being) there to support him along the way. Truly, he will be missed tremendously.”
Assistant coach Antonia Griggs said, “Congratulations, Coach Scott Harrill! Where do I start? It’s been my honor and privilege to play for Coach Harrill. I know I drove him crazy at times as a player. As an assistant on his staff for so many years, I’ve seen firsthand all the hard work he put into our basketball program. He has been everything a parent wants in a mentor and coach for their son! Much respect on a Hall of Fame career and for doing it with high morals and pure class the entire time. I owe Coach Harrill a lot. He was my coach, my friend and mentor. He’s the reason I teach and coach. I will forever value all he taught me. Thank you for the love, passion, and unmeasurable time you have devoted to Ironmen basketball. Thank you for being an amazing coach and example to us all. Special thanks to Teresa for allowing him to be in all of his players lives even after our playing careers ended. Happy retirement! You will be missed! Once an Ironmen…Always an Ironmen! We love you Coach!”
And lastly, from his friend and CHS Principal Shawn Hubers, “I have been blessed in my two years at Cherryville High School to work with Coach Harrill. I have seen first-hand his dedication to his basketball team and to our entire athletic program. Coach Harrill creates a family atmosphere within his program which was on full display last Friday night. He loves his players, past and present, and he makes meaningful investments in their lives. He will be greatly missed as our basketball coach, but he has built a strong foundation for our program moving forward.”
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Hubert and Pam McGinnis take a minute out of a very business morning to smile for the camera. They are pretty excited to tell everyone about their 50 years in the furniture business in downtown Cherryville and their upcoming celebration of that half-century event. (photos by MEP/The Eagle/CF Media)

Cherryville’s McGinnis Furniture celebrates 50 years in business

Store opened on Oct. 18, 1973, and hasn’t looked back since…


Hubert K. McGinnis, Jr. said his family has been in the furniture business “for over 100 years”, so it’s no surprise, and not an understatement, to say it is in his blood. So much so, that now he can say he has a half-century at the helm of his own business in Cherryville.
Hubert noted his mother and father helped with the funds to purchase the building and his sister, Freida, owned half of it.
Of his sister, Hubert said she came to work later (around 1978 or 1980). Hubert said she attended Lenoir-Rhyne and later taught PE and Health at Crest High School.
Hubert and wife, Pam, married in 1981 and since then, she too has been an integral part in making McGinnis Furniture a literal household name in downtown Cherryville. They have two children, Sam and Bess, they said.
The McGinnis’ business – a downtown staple – is located at 303 East Main Street. It has a large showroom replete with just about everything a person or a family would need to furnish any size home or business office, and then some. The McGinnises pride themselves on having some of the poshest, most modern sofas, chairs, tables, beds, desks, bookcases, and related ephemera, all within easy reach and viewing at their large building perched perfectly right on Main Street, and all – they add, for sale at a good price.
As for how things started out for him, Hubert noted, “My dad (Hubert K. McGinnis, Sr.) and his family were in the furniture business in Kings Mountain, and had been since the '30s.”
Hubert, taking a bit of time out from a busy morning selling, continued, “I came here and opened this store in October of 1973 (Oct. 18, to be exact). Dan Huffstetler, who then worked for us at the Kings Mountain store, came here with me and worked here for 14 years, until he retired. He was my first store manager at the building next door,” said McGinnis. “We built this 9,000 square foot new showroom in 1987 and connected it to the older building,” he added.
In addition to themselves, Hubert and Pam said they have two part-time employees helping them out, one of whom, Crystal Thornburg, was working in the office during the interview. She said she came on board in 2019 and works part-time.
Hubert noted the past two years were the best two years they have recently had thanks to the government “putting all that (stimulus) money out.” He said they had some supply chain issues during the pandemic, and overall, the state’s furniture and textiles business has been hit a bit hard.
“North Carolina was a furniture and textiles-based industry, along with being an agriculture economy as well. When we started we had appliances and televisions, but we had to stop carrying those as we couldn’t compete with the big-box stores that started carrying them,” he said.
Pam said they have a number of events planned for their celebrating 50 years in the business, all culminating in the October 2023 wrap-up.
“For this Valentine’s Day, we will have cookies for our customers as well as a drawing, then in March, we’ll have a scratch-off for St. Patrick’s Day,” she said.
“As we said, we’re doing an event every month promoting our 50 years in business, right up until our anniversary date. We will have something big that day.”
McGinnis Furniture has a website,, and they can be reached at (704) 435-5436. They also, said Pam, have a Facebook and an Instagram page as well.
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Representatives from John Chavis Middle School (Principal Matt Rikard) and Cherryville High School (Principal Shawn Hubers) participated in last year’s School Choice Fair at the Gastonia Conference Center to promote the Public Service Academy, which gives students an opportunity to explore careers in education/teaching, criminal justice, public safety, emergency medical care, and government. (photos by Sean Corcoran/Gaston County Schools)

School Choice Fair is Feb. 3-4, at Gastonia Conference Center

Public Service Academy at John Chavis Middle and Cherryville High among the 22 programs featured

Chief Communications Officer
Gaston County Schools

The Gaston County Schools’ 2023 School Choice Fair will be held at the Gastonia Conference Center on Friday, Feb. 3 from 5 to 8 p.m., and on Saturday, Feb. 4 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. 
The event is an opportunity for students and parents to drop in and learn about the 22-school choice/magnet school programs that are available in Gaston County Schools.  Students and parents have the opportunity to visit the individual school booths, meet the principal and other school representatives, and get information about each choice program. The School Choice Fair is free and open to the public; anyone interested in learning about the programs is encouraged to attend.
Among the 22 schools to be featured at the School Choice Fair are Cherryville High School and John Chavis Middle School. Both the middle school and high school in Cherryville are home to the Gaston County Schools Public Service Academy, which gives students an opportunity to explore promising careers in education/teaching, criminal justice, public safety, emergency medical care, and government.
Students in the Public Service Academy learn about what it takes to become a police officer, firefighter, emergency medical technician (EMT), lawyer/judge, teacher, and leader in municipal/county government. Field trips, guest speakers, community service opportunities, and the teacher cadet program give students an up-close and hands-on approach to finding out what it means to serve the public.
Each year, up to 50 sixth graders and 50 ninth graders (from outside the Cherryville attendance area) are admitted to participate in the Public Service Academy. Students who live inside the Cherryville attendance area can already take advantage of the Academy, and the program is designed to make an easy transition for students going from John Chavis Middle to Cherryville High School.
Below is a list of all school choice/magnet school programs that are offered in Gaston County Schools:

■ Elementary Schools
Gifted and Talented Academy @ Pleasant Ridge Elementary School
Hawks Nest STEAM Academy
Leadership Academy @ Costner Elementary School
Performing Arts Academy @ Pinewood Elementary School (new)

■ Middle Schools
Career Academy @ Southwest Middle School
Career Academy @ York Chester Middle School
Gifted and Talented Academy @ Cramerton Middle School
Leadership Academy @ W.C. Friday Middle School
Public Service Academy @ John Chavis Middle School
STEAM Academy @ Stanley Middle School
Technology and Industrial Engineering Academy @ Bessemer City Middle School

■ High Schools
Career Academy @ Hunter Huss High School
Collegiate Prep Academy @ Forestview High School
Gaston Early College High School
Gaston Early College of Medical Sciences
Health Sciences Academy @ East Gaston High School
Highland School of Technology
iAccelerate Academy @ Ashbrook High School
Leadership Academy @ North Gaston High School
Public Service Academy @ Cherryville High School
Technology and Industrial Engineering Academy @ Bessemer City High School

■ Online Learning
Gaston County Virtual Academy (for grades K-12)

Beginning with the 2023-2024 academic year, the newest addition to the school choice lineup is the Performing Arts Academy at Pinewood Elementary School. Also, a cybersecurity program is being added to the Health Sciences Academy at East Gaston High School.
Typically, students enter a school choice program when they will be in kindergarten, sixth grade, or ninth grade; however, some programs have limited space available at other grade levels. Students in Gaston County Schools as well as students who currently attend a private school, charter school, home school, or virtual school may apply now for the 2023-2024 academic year.
For more information about each school choice option and to submit an online application, visit the School Choice webpage for Gaston County Schools: The deadline to apply is Friday, March 3 at 5:00 p.m. The student placement lottery will be held in April.

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Cherryville-area luthier Eric Gale plays a song on one of his hand-built creations. (photo by MEP/The Eagle

Cherryville-area luthier hand builds playable works of art

Self-taught guitar builder is making a name for himself and his creations here and abroad


Cherryville-area luthier Eric Gale is a man on a mission. His mission? To make the best electric guitar he can and to have a great time doing so. Sounds like a piece of cake, right? Nope!
While Gale, a Christian, who truly loves what he does in so far as creating a piece of playable art is concerned, he is equally in love with the beauty and quality of taking a piece of gorgeous tone wood and finding – like a sculptor – the perfectly honed, tuned, and polished guitar from his chosen slab of wood.
Gale, 52, has called the Cherryville area home for 30 years now. He and his family – wife, Lee; and sons, Eric, who is in the Marines, and Chris and George, who are at home, all have an artistic streak in them. Lee paints and draws, and the boys are artistically and musically inclined, with Chris playing bass guitar along with his dad on more than a few occasions.
Eric said he moved to the Old Tar Heel state 30-plus years ago, hailing originally from Massachusetts, where a family member was a well-known and famous pen and ink artist and illustrator of sailing ships (George Gale) and another female relative was a noted woodcarver and sculptor.
“I guess it (making and creating art) does sort of run in our family,” said Gale. “I’m very blessed to be able to do what I love. It’s been hard getting to where I am now from where I once was. I thank God every day for that.”
In addition to their wonderful and talented kids, Eric and Lee smile and note they are also the proud parents of “…a whole bunch of furry children,” as they are surrounded by a host of tail-wagging, very friendly and happy dogs and more than a few friendly (and loving) cats.
Though Eric said he has been a woodworker “all his life”, the self-taught guitar maker has only been at his craft of electric guitar building for a total of three years.
However, in that time, he has learned his craft well and has, to date and by his own admission, has built “…between 15 to 18 guitars.”
One famous guitarist for whom he has built a custom piece is another Eric, Eric Gales, the Memphis, Tennessee-born, North Carolina-based bluesman who is currently on tour said Gale.
Gale builds his works or art mostly at night or when he has spare time, he said, as he is employed building custom furniture at Newton Cabinets, in Casar.
Luthier Eric, who also plays guitar (of course!), brands his pieces as Freestyle Custom Guitars, which can be seen on his Facebook page (Freestyle Guitar on Facebook), and on Instagram at Freestyle Guitars Instagram.
As for materials used, Eric said, “I use many varied pieces of regular and easy-to-find woods like maple, alder, walnut, and birch.”
He also uses many fantastic exotic woods, like bubinga, zebrawood, and other similar tone woods for his bodies, top caps, and necks. Pretty much everything on the guitar is either made by him or by a friend who does the occasional pickguard for him. Gale etches his logo into every headstock on every guitar he makes.
Gale also hand-makes pistol grips for Model 1911-style pistols as well as others.
Gale said he does take orders, but it is best to call him and see what his build schedule looks like currently. He does have a couple of pieces at a local guitar shop in Lincolnton. Call them at (704) 240-3499.
“They’re at Guitar Wishes,” said Gale, who suggests visiting the guys there and sitting down and playing one of his custom-made Freestyle Guitars there.
Gale said he can be reached at his email at, or by phoning him at (704) 308-2261 and leaving a message.
“The best time to call,” he said, “is Friday through Sunday. Just leave me a message if I don’t answer right away as that usually means I’m working in my shop.”
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The Summey House, on South Dixie Street in Cherryville, currently undergoing renovation and repair. (photo provided)

Dixie Street’s 100-plus year old Summey House gets new look

Never too late for an old beauty with
 “good bones” to get extra-special attention


An early 20th Century house on South Dixie Street is getting not only some new owners but a new look as well. It’s never too late for an old beauty like that – and one with “good bones” no less! – to get a little extra-special attention.
Enter into this story the person of Mrs. Lorene Neill Summey, a current resident of Somerset Court in Cherryville, who recently celebrated her 105th birthday. She was born in the house on S. Dixie, said Cherryville native and resident Sid Stroupe.
Stroupe also noted the house was purchased in June 2022 by himself, Mr. Gary Atkins, former Cherryville Mayor Wade Stroupe, and Ms. Mary Brown, is currently being worked on, and is expected to be ready for sale in the Spring.
That said, a brief bit about the august history of this venerable older home is in order, noted Mr. Stroupe.
“Lorene was born in the house that sits at 207 South Dixie Street. As fate would have it, Lorene’s life-long home on South Dixie Street is located less than a block away from her current home at Somerset Court.
“Lorene’s father, Mr. Newt Neill, and his business partner, Mr. Van Costner, built many Cherryville homes in the early 20th Century and this house is a fine example of their craftsmanship. It is in good shape, and has ‘good bones’ as they say. Most of the original hardwood floors remain, the living room fireplace mantle is intact, and the exterior trim is solid and awaits a new coat of paint.”
Stroupe noted two other examples of Mr. Neill’s and Mr. Costner’s excellent construction, still standing in 2023, are located in the first block of South Pink Street.
Sid said the Stroupe and Neill/Summey families were the first to build houses on what was originally called “George Avenue”, in honor of Mayor John J. George, back in the 1910s.
He continued with his mini-history, “In the late 1930s, the avenue was renamed Dixie Street. The families, each residing on opposite sides of the street, remained very close personal friends for over 80 years, which makes this ‘reconnection’ via Lorene’s home-place all the sweeter.”
So, on a recent sunny afternoon in mid-January, Stroupe said Lorene visited her old home place on Dixie and toured the work-in-progress.
“She enlightened (and surprised) all of us with vivid memories of her childhood and adulthood years living in the house,” said Stroupe, adding, “According to Lorene she was ‘…born in the front bedroom’ in 1917, and when married to Walt Summey in the 1950s, she and Walt moved into the ‘middle’ bedroom, which was a bit larger, with a fireplace!”
Sid said she was “a bit saddened” that the “French glass doors” separating the living room from the hallway had been removed by a former owner, but Lorene enthusiastically commented, “This is looking like a new home!”
Sid said, with a smile, that Mrs. Lorene has already “booked” her next visit to the house in the Spring!

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Cherryville Police Lt. Brandon Parker, CFD Capt. Nathan Bowman, CFD Driver/Engineer Chad Duvall, and CPD Patrol Officer Jason Parton. Capt. Bowman presented the check to D/E Duvall. (photos provided)

City’s Fire and Police Department’s donate proceeds from “No Shave November”

The Cherryville Fire Department and the Cherryville Police Department recently made the presentation of the proceeds from 2022’s PD/FD “No Shave November” event.
Spokespersons for the two departments said the proceeds this year were split between CFD Driver/Engineer Chad Duvall and Haylee Harrelson.
A representative from the Cherryville Fire Department reported that D/E
Duvall’s wife was diagnosed with breast cancer this past year (2022) and underwent a double mastectomy. Also,  Ms. Haylee Harrelson, who is an employee of the City Water Plant, lost her oldest son to cancer this past year as well.
The “No Shave November” fund raisers are worthwhile events and provide a way for employees of the City and their departments who wish to do so to be a blessing to their fellow workers and staff.
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A wide-angle view of the Cherryville July 4, 2022 celebration held at Rudisill Stadium. (Eagle file photos)

It was a very good year…we look back on all that’s happened in 2022

Part 2 of our series encompasses July through December


(Ed. Note: This is Part Two of the Eagle’s two-part series looking back on the last six months of 2022 and how we brought your hometown, community news and local issues to you, our faithful readers.)

• Mainstreet America accredits Cherryville’s Main Street Program again. This National Accreditation is city’s 7th consecutive designation.
• St. John’s Lutheran Church’s Mobile Food Pantry fulfills Christ’s command to feed the hungry. Also have a school supplies giveaway in August.
• Cherryville “Y’s” beloved Butch Boyd retires after 15-plus years. Many friends and co-workers came by and shared pizza and memories of good times.
• City’s Fourth celebration at Rudisill Stadium ranks as one of the best. CFD thanks First United Methodist Church for use of parking lot as fireworks launch site.
• Cherryville Elementary has a new principal in the person Mr. Patrick Watson. He takes over the helm from Mrs. Audrey Hovis.
• Council recognizes Gaston County DA; City safety award winners at meeting. Public hearings set for August for proposed annexation; two Planning and Zoning proposals.
• Missing Lincoln man with Cherryville address located. Daniel E. Neal found in Morganton by authorities.
• Cherryville’s own Joshua White is the new principal at WBBI. He is looking forward to the start of school on Wednesday, Aug. 17
• Venerable Stroup Memorial Park gets a fantastic makeover. Though small, the park has a big impact on all who seek a bit of quiet, beauty and solace.
• Cherryville Dixie All-Stars receive Sportsmanship Trophy and medals. Coaches, players excited to receive prestigious award.
• Cherryville’s Miss Fourth of July Pageant winners announced. The Miss Fourth of July Pageant winners were Tiny Miss Gabrielle Shedd, Majestic Miss Skylar Blackburn, Miniature Miss Chrislyn Shook, Baby Miss Bella Mae Flowers, Young Miss Savannah Hubbard, and Little Miss Vivian Medrano.
• Cherryville’s Post 100 are 2022 Area IV champions. Coach Bob Reynolds’ Legion ball players win 20th Area IV championship 5-4.

• Trent “Bam Bam” Rayfield is new chief of Hugh’s Pond VFD. Young chief serious about getting new volunteers to serve the community.
• Last of July Council work session covers zoning, truck parking, museum topics. All done in preparation for Aug. 8’s regular Council session; voting.
• Cherryville native Quentin Cash ends his one-year term as 134th NCSFA President. He now becomes the Immediate Past President of state association.
• The Cherryville Dixie Girls Softball organization had four All-Star teams to participate in the Dixie Girls Softball State Tournament in Troy and Moore County, in July.
• Post 100’s 2022 season ends at Campbell University state tournament. Team’s overall record is 27-13; 2-1 in the playoffs.
• Former Belk-Matthews building newest downtown property to get renovated. Hard work, caring parties create another Main Street gem.
• Gaston County seeks to convert to a county-wide fire service district. A flat or consistent tax rate for fire protection studied to get allocated funds to the areas of the most need.
• CHS Fall Sports teams start drills and getting in shape.
• Zoning and annexation issues main topics at Aug. 8 council meeting.
• 2022 school supplies drive at First United Methodist big success. Aug. 13 event saw many kids, parents, get supplies-stuffed backpacks for the new school year
• It’s back to school time for Gaston County Schools. Students return to class on Aug. 17 to begin the 2022-2023 academic year.
• Bluegrass duo Darin and Brook Aldridge on Mike Huckabee’s show. Segment taped in July 15; aired on TBN network.
• About 1,485 students have their first day back at Cherryville’s four schools. Principals report few hitches; glitches as things start up for 2022 school year.
• Talented custodian Lynette Christensen paints mural at CHS.
• COVID state of emergency officially ends after two years.
• Josey Messer, the Associate Executive Director of the Cherryville Family YMCA and the Pharr Family YMCA, said the “Y’s” work and classes at the Cherryville pool are over for this year.
• Ironmen get season-opener football win over Avery Co. Vikings. It was a good beginning for the CHS coaches and the players.

• 12th Annual Carolina Freight Reunion Scheduled for Sept. 24. Co-directors said reservations were “steadily coming in.”
• City’s 21st 911 Remembrance Ceremony a call to “never forget”. Sept. 9 event an occasion to remind all to reflect on the price paid by the men, women who served on that fateful day.
• CHS soccer men get two early season non-conference wins.
• CHS Lady Ironmen spikers are currently 6-2 overall.
• GCPD’s Mark Johnson marks 40 years of service to community policing. Much-loved SRO known affectionately as “OJ” by JCMS students.
• City-wide power outage due to wayward squirrel at Ted Mace Substation. City praises quick response by Duke Power.
• Ironmen defeat Blacksburg in away game, but lose 50-0 to CHASE. Ironmen football men off to a 2-2 start their season.
• Cherryvale subdivision receives council approval at Sept. 12 session. CPD Det. Stout receives service award; Constitution Week proclaimed.
• Fallen firefighters to be honored in upcoming month of October. CFD been involved in honoring these men and women since 2019.
• Main Street’s construction moves nearer October completion. Mayor, city staff, merchants enthusiastically looking forward to the completion of construction.
• Cherryville Little Theater puts on Drama Desk winner, “The Last Five Years”.
• Lady Ironmen spikers currently 8-5 overall; 2-3 in conference play. JV ladies get a win last week as well.
• Cherryville High School’s 2022 Homecoming Friday, Oct. 7. Five senior girls say they’re all excited to have been selected to be on the Court.
• 12th Annual Carolina Freight Reunion attendance better than expected as co-directors, reunion committee very pleased with post-COVID turnout.
• CHS Assistant Principal Heather Parrish a proud product of Gaston County Schools. She began her teaching career at Bessemer City High School as a lateral entry biology teacher.

• Centenarian Beulah Reynolds credits God for her long life; good health. Excited to receive honor; notes, “I’m getting really popular now!”
• Council discusses, votes on interlocal connection between City; Cleveland County Water.
• John Chavis Middle School Lady Wolverines softball team end regular season at 7-2. Finish in second place in Gaston County standings.
• On Oct. 7, CHS’ Miss Gabrielle “Gabbie” McCorkle was crowned the school’s Homecoming Queen at Ironmen/Rams game.
• Mobile Food Pantry wraps up another year of giving out food. Organizers said group provided food for 144 families, or 372 people.
• CHS head football coach Tim Pruitt’s Ironmen get 47-0 Homecoming win over Highland Tech Rams.
• Dept. of Public Works head Brandon Abernathy retires after 29-plus years of service to City of Cherryville. Started out as a meter reader in 1993; worked his way up.
• Plans for CHS Outdoor Learning Space moving forward as CHSEF approves $100,000 toward the grant; pledges to use fundraising to fulfill remaining balance.
• Lady Ironmen ‘spikers’ get Senior Night win against West Lincoln. End regular season 12-8 overall; 5-7 in SPC 1A/2A play.
• CHS’ Lee Roy Montgomery longest serving sports “ball boy” in state. Works with Ironmen football, basketball, baseball; worked NC/SC Shrine Bowl.
• Cherryville’s oldest resident to celebrate her first birthday party. Somerset Court resident Lorene Summey turns 105 in style.

• Large crowd packs out City, Chamber’s 2022 Scary-Ville festival. This is the beloved festival’s third year bringing food, fun, and frights to the downtown area.
• Cherryville ABC Board presents $10,000 check to City Council. Total distribution for FY 2021-2022 is $40,000.
• Grand Re-Opening of Main Street set for Thursday, Nov. 10. A few more little cosmetic touch-ups here and there, then all will be ready!
• 14th Annual Community Thanksgiving Meal to again be a ‘drive-thru’ event.
• New (and older) Veterans banners hung last week on Main Street’s new poles.
• With a playoff loss, CHS men’s soccer wraps up its 2022 season. Still, team breaks record for most soccer wins in school’s history!
• Cherryville’s Who-Ville; Christmas Parade back on the agenda for 2022. City; Chamber staff say they’ve “…put together one big holiday season!”
• At Friday, Nov. 11, Veterans Day ceremony, Cherryville honors all who served. Parade canceled due to weather; moved to Post 100 building.
• CHS’ Montgomery chosen as the 2022 Christmas Parade Grand Marshal. Says he’s just “…a regular guy who works every day!”
• 14th Annual Community Thanksgiving Meal feeds 1,079 people. Organizers, Food Lion say 2022 event another successful outreach to town’s citizens.

• Huge crowd turns out for 2022 Cherryville’s Who-Ville celebration. Much-loved event showcases city’s ability to draw folks from miles around with entertaining activities; themes.
• Cherryville Police Dept. Chief Cam Jenks takes new position with Gaston County Sheriff’s Office. He will be taking an Administrative Management position.
• Main Street’s “Shop Small” brings out many Christmas shoppers, many of whom stayed to see the lighting of the “Who-Bilation Tree.”
• CaroMont Health Board of Directors appoints Cherryville native Jeff Cash to leadership position as he is named Chairman of the Health System’s Board.
• 2022’s Cherryville Christmas Parade one of the largest ever. Santa; floats; beloved Grand Marshal; lots of trucks and a very big crowd make this holiday parade great!
•  CaroMont Health opens Primary and Urgent Care office in Cherryville. Offices, staff relocate to brand new 7,000-plus square foot facility.
• International company Piedmont Lithium opens Cherryville office. Cherryville High School Education Foundation receives check for $10,000 from lithium company.
• On Dec. 7, Cherryville New Year’s Shooters Inc. elect Charles Sisk their new president.
• Traditional New Year’s Shooters group growing by leaps and bounds. New safety plan implemented and to be in force this year.

(This ends Part Two of our two-part series looking back on 2022 and how your hometown, community newspaper, The Cherryville Eagle, brought local issues to you, our faithful readers. Once again, we thank you, faithful reader, for being an Eagle reader and/or subscriber! We look forward to serving you in 2023!)
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Cherryville New Year’s Shooter’s fire their guns in Waco. “Following the boom” and driving out evil spirits for a better New Year.

The Eagle looks back at the stories 2022 brought to us

The people and things that made our community; our lives happier, safer, and stronger


(Ed. Note: This is Part One of a two-part series looking back on the first six months of 2022 and how the Eagle brought your hometown, community news and local issues to you, our faithful readers.)

• Majority Leader Sen. Kathy Harrington (R-Gaston) has announced she will not seek re-election. Sen. Harrington is in her sixth term representing Gaston County in the North Carolina State Senate. She was elected by the Senate Republican Caucus to serve as majority leader for the 2021-22 session. Was the first woman to be elected majority leader in the Senate.
• New Year’s Shooter’s exhibit at Historical Museum redone. Moved upstairs to main floor and expanded.
• CHS hoops teams do well in 2021 homegrown Holiday Classic. Varsity men 2021 champs; Lady Ironmen take home second place trophy.
• Cherryville New Year’s Shooter’s fire their guns in Waco. “Following the boom” and driving out evil spirits for a better New Year.
• Traditional New Year’s Shooters have large number of shooters this year. Start “shoot” at City Hall as they have always done for many years.
• City gets great news on financial audit for fiscal year June 2021. Also votes to annex property known as Stroup Acres
• 2021-2022 CNYSI stadium shot honors memory of “Boozie” Dellinger. Rusty Wise: “Having his red coat and hat hanging in the press box was pretty emotional.”
• Cherryville gets a few inches of snow from Winter Storm Izzy. Second blast of Arctic air brings little snow; more winter mix.

• Retired fire chief Jeff Cash recipient of Order of Long Leaf Pine Award. He joins a long list of winners of the auspicious, celebrated state award.
• Gaston County Schools’ School Choice Fair of Feb. 12. Chavis Middle and Cherryville High; the two City schools making the list.
• CHS Spanish teacher Matt Smith stirs interest in students with self-made videos. “El Dedo Rojo” one in a long line of neat teaching tools/productions
• Jill Parker-Puett is the Unit 100 Ladies Auxiliary President and she wants everyone to know about a “pet” project of hers – getting Robotic Pets to America’s veterans who suffer from a host of maladies and diseases.
• Downtown Streetscape construction moving quickly. Streetscape starts soon with completion set for late summer.
• CHS’ Coach Harrill humbled by his 400th basketball win. Credits God, family, coaching staff and all the players he coached for milestone.
• Cherryville Family “Y’s” new digs coming along nicely. New location a “hop, skip, and a jump” around the corner, on Mountain Street
• CFD Capt. Chris “Pudge” Cash retires after 36 years of service. Began serving his community as a Junior Firefighter while at CHS
• CHS senior, Cooper Sloan, son of Jim and Jayna Sloan, signs Letter of Intent (LOI) to play football as a running back for the Defiance College Yellowjackets, a Division III school, located in Defiance, Ohio.
• Student mask rules lift after legislature’s vote, Cooper’s announcement.
• Cherryville Police Chief Cam Jenks and Capt. Brian Doolittle report officers from their department were able to complete a six-month-long drug investigation involving multiple cases. As a result of these investigations, nine people were arrested and charged.
• CHS’ Kadin Beaver signs LOI to play for Methodist U’s Monarchs.
• NC American Legion Baseball Hall of Fame ceremony March 5. Two Cherryville inductions gives town 15 of its own in auspicious Hall of Fame.
• Tryon School celebrates 100 years of educating children. School has had 15 principals since its inception.
• Friday inducted into NCHS Track & Field; Cross Country Hall of Fame. One of the eight to headline the third class
• Alex Blackburn is new P&Z Director for City of Cherryville. Carries on family tradition of service to his community
• Police and Fire departments give Council Year-end reports. City employee Bingham recognized for 5 years of service to the city
• New Cherryville “Y” has March 24 ribbon cutting ceremony. “Y” CEO Padgett, staff and employees welcome city, county, state and other dignitaries to state-of-the-art facility

• Six arrests by CPD officers bring numerous drug charges. Chief Jenks: Amount of drugs seized have an approximate tax value of $17,800.
• Big turnout for 2022 Dixie Girls Softball opening day. Officials say they had 180 girls sign up to play this year, which was largest group to date.
• CHS; JCMS student artists’ works in Gaston County art show. Three students take First Place in juried county-wide show.
• One of Cherryville’s sports finest – Stan Crisson – is slated to be honored on May 2, be inducted into 2022 Gaston County Sports Hall of Fame.
• Miss Cherryville High School Pageant is April 30 as 25 young ladies from CHS are to be congratulated as they have been nominated as a contestant for the Miss Cherryville High School Pageant.
• MainStreet Family Care to open on May 5. Cherryville site chosen as their first NC location.
• Ironmen win two games against Highland Tech Rams. CHS men’s team currently 9-6 overall; 6-4 in SPC 1A/2A play.
• Lady Ironmen take two games from Lady Rams in last week’s diamond action. Cancer Night walk was April 29.
• Belmont’s Auten-Stowe American Legion Post 144 celebrates 100 years. Jill Puett; Monica Lockwood, from Cherryville’s Post 100 Legion group, attend ceremony.
•    Gaston VISION 2040 kicks off with Cherryville workshop in Cherryville. Far-reaching agenda looking for stakeholders who want to change their future.
• CHS’ Gaston County track meet wins four years in the making.

• Cherryville High’s head baseball coach, Scott Heavner, reaches career milestone with recent victory over the West Lincoln Rebels – he got his 300th career win!
• Businesses remain open on Main Street while construction progresses. Construction slated to be completed by late summer.
• CHS baseball men end regular season with win over BCHS. Ironmen currently 13-8 overall; 8-4 going into the playoffs.
• Lady Ironmen softball squad ends regular season with win over Lady Jackets. CHS ladies currently 13-7 overall; 10-2 in SPC 1A/2A play.
• CMA-sponsored National Day of Prayer held May 5. Theme was to “Exalt the Lord Who has established us.”
•    Three “Of the Year” awards given at 2022 Chamber Annual meeting. Cherryville’s Business; Chamber Member; and Citizen of the Year honored at May 12 gala
• New business, HomeTown Healthy, opens in Cherryville. May 11 ribbon cutting celebrates new medical clinic’s start.
• “Pretty steady” turnout best describes Cherryville’s election day showing. Voting at town’s three precincts came in “fits and spurts.”

• Coach’s health; PE students put in many yards for a good cause. “Yards for Yeardley” walk/run is an ongoing, important endeavor for Tim Pruitt’s classes
• Sunny skies make for a perfect June 4, 2022 CHS graduation. 108 students receive diplomas on a beautiful Saturday morning.
• CHS’ Jackson Owens and Rylee-Grace Burgis are 2022 valedictorian and salutatorian.
• Chamber, City “exceptionally excited” about this year’s ID 4 Celebration. Fireworks moved to Rudisill Stadium; will be shot off from First United Methodist Church parking lot.
• ABC Board gives $3,000 to Cherryville Shriner Club. Funds will help organization promote the impact of underage drinking in the community.
• MainStreet Family Care has ribbon cutting on June 16. New urgent care will provide a number of services and be open 7 days a week.
• Mayor Beam praises construction progress as first sidewalks poured. SIT/REP: North alley almost complete with construction still slated to be completed by early fall.
• The CHS Ironmen Spring Sports Awards Ceremony took place in May. The various teams and their athletes were honored with a number of awards.

(This ends our Part One of a two-part series looking back on the first six months of 2022 and how the Eagle brought your hometown, community news and local issues to you, our faithful readers. Look for Part Two in next week’s Eagle on Wednesday, Jan. 4. As always, thank you, faithful reader, for being an Eagle reader and/or subscriber!)
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The Monday, Dec. 12 ribbon cutting at the new Piedmont Lithium Cherryville branch office at 116 E. Main Street. CAO Kris McVey cuts the ceremonial ribbon. COO Patrick Brindle (in green shirt) stands to Ms. McVey’s right, as a host of Cherryville city officials and staff and Piedmont Lithium staff beam with pride at having a new business on Main Street. (photos by MEP/The Eagle/CF Media

International company Piedmont Lithium opens Cherryville office

Cherryville High School Education Foundation receives check for $10,000 from lithium company


On Monday, Dec. 12, Piedmont Lithium opened a branch office in Cherryville in the newly redone Belk Building, located on Main Street.
Piedmont, listed as “…a leading global developer of lithium resources critical to the U.S. electric vehicle supply chain,” announced the opening of a new office at 116 E Main St., Suite 100, adding in a media release, “The space will serve as a hub for community engagement related to our proposed Carolina Lithium project as well as the headquarters for the Piedmont Lithium Foundation: Power for Life.” They will still maintain their office in Belmont, N.C., as well, said Chief Administrative Officer, Krishna “Kris” Y. McVey.
The event – a ribbon-cutting ceremony – was hosted by the Cherryville Chamber of Commerce and attended by chamber officials, elected officials of Cherryville, and other key members of the community. One of the highlights of the event was the presentation of a facsimile check for $10,000 to the Cherryville High School Education Foundation, received by its representative, Ms. Nan Davis.
The special gift/donation, noted Ms. McVey and Ms. Davis, provides “…support (for) the group’s 2023 operating budget.” Ms. Davis also noted that CHSEF has, since CHSEF’s inception in 2010, awarded “close to $400,000” to help and support the high school’s teachers.
Welcoming PL to the historical Cherryville downtown location was Mayor H.L. Beam, III, who said, “Thank you for choosing us and being willing to answer all our questions about the planned project.”
Chamber Board President Pete Craft also welcomed the mining company to Cherryville’s Main Street. He introduced Downtown
Director David  Day,  who spoke briefly, saying, “We are excited to have you here, and glad to have you all as another one of the 15 to 16 new businesses now located on Main Street.”
Next up was Piedmont Chief Operating Officer Patrick Brindle, who welcomed everyone for coming out. He said the Company is pleased to open office space near its proposed Carolina Lithium project.
“Although we have our headquarters in Belmont, N.C., it’s important for us have to a strong presence in Cherryville as we invest in the region and progress in our plans for Carolina Lithium. We are excited about this new home for our community engagement and philanthropic activities,” he said.
Brindle noted also Piedmont plans to invest nearly $1 billion to build the proposed Carolina Lithium project as a fully integrated operation within the renowned Carolina Tin-Spodumene Belt.  That project is expected, as was noted in the company’s media release, “…to be one of the most sustainable lithium hydroxide operations in the world. Carolina Lithium is being designed to produce 30,000 metric tons of lithium hydroxide per year when fully operational while providing more than 420 direct jobs to the region.”
Piedmont – founded in 2016, said Brindle, – has as its goal “…to obtain primary construction and operating permits as well as necessary approvals for Carolina Lithium in 2023, commence construction in 2024, and begin production of spodumene concentrate and lithium hydroxide in 2026.”
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This year’s Parade Grand Marshal is the long-time Ironmen ball boy; a major Ironmen fan; and all-around great guy, Mr. Lee Roy Montgomery, of Cherryville High School. Driving Grand Marshal Montgomery was local businessman, Terry Bell. (photos by MEP/The Eagle/CF Media and Susan L. Powell)

2022’s Cherryville Christmas Parade one of the largest ever

Santa; floats; beloved Grand Marshal; lots of trucks and a very big crowd make this holiday parade great!


Once again, a longer, larger, chock full of fun 2022 Cherryville Christmas Parade made for a wonderful Saturday morning on Dec. 10 as a huge crowd of folks came out, lining Main Street, to start the holiday season right.
And nobody – small-town-wise – does holidays any better than the folks at Cherryville Chamber of Commerce and the City of Cherryville (Where Life Blossoms), whether it’s a summer holiday festival or this season’s favorite, the Annual Cherryville Christmas Parade.
This year’s Grand Marshal was CHS’ Lee Roy Montgomery, who was all smiles and waved to everyone shouting out, “Merry Christmas!”, greeting all those who turned out on Saturday, Dec. 10, braving chilly, overcast weather, to enjoy the bright floats and to get a glimpse of Santa himself! It really was beginning to look a lot like Christmas.
The Chamber’s Mary Beth Tackett noted that things this year looked wonderful as many lined the streets, once again happy to be able to be out and among others, enjoying the pleasant weather and getting to experience one of the area’s premier Christmas parades. The joy on everyone’s faces was infectious, to say the least.
The annual Christmas Parade has a long history, with no one quite sure when the first one took place, though the estimates have been put at “about 25 to 30 years or more, or thereabouts,” according to one citizen who asked not to be named and who said he has lived here all his life.
Tackett said the Christmas Parade came together well enough again this year, with only a minor glitch or two. Still, she was very pleased to see it get started and wind its way down Main Street.
As far as crowd numbers went, Tackett said she was unable to accurately gauge such since she doesn’t actually get to ride in the parade, but she noted she heard from a number of folks this was another large crowd for this event.
It has been noted in the past by Mrs. Tackett that, “The Christmas Parade, like the other events we do, brings people that might not be familiar with our downtown area to Cherryville. It gives them a chance to see businesses and restaurants they might not see while traveling on (Hwy.) 150. With that being said, we hope they will stay, shop, and grab a bite while they are here. And come back to see us!”
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Santa Claus (a.k.a Santa Floyd) gets a big hug from this little girl who waited for her chance to sit on his lap and tell him what she wanted for Christmas. (photo provided)

Huge crowd turns out for 2022 Cherryville’s Who-Ville celebration

Much-loved event showcases city’s ability to draw folks from miles around with entertaining activities; themes


People were ready for this year’s Who-Ville, and boy were they ever! The Cherryville event’s organizers estimated that between 8,000 to 9,000 people poured in to the city “Where Life Blossoms” last Friday night, Dec. 2, 2022,  to see what has rapidly become an event equally as well attended and as famous as the City’s famed Fourth of July celebration.
Everything started at about 6 p.m., last Friday night, but the actual work and set-up began earlier than that, according to the event’s organizers. As early as middle November and the end of that month the sets and planning for who they would be and where they would go was “gelling” so the Chamber and City folks would have a better idea of who all was coming, so far as vendors and businesses were concerned. This is nothing new, as in past years, as far back as perhaps 2016 or 2017, Chamber Director and City Events Planner Mary Beth Tackett noted this scale of planning and work was the norm for putting on not just any event the City and Chamber has, but pretty much is status quo for getting the job done for ANY event the City takes on.
Mrs. Tackett also noted that, in addition to the massive planning and execution of events of this caliber, there are the years they were unable to host – of had to move – Who-Ville, due to either snow, rain or the terror and fear associated with a then-unknown pandemic scenario. Still, Mary Beth and company never gave up and always managed to literally “knock it out of the ballpark” when it came to presenting a spectacle the likes of Who-Ville, which never ceases to amaze and “wow” children of all ages.
When asked what she thought of the 2022 edition of “Who-Ville”, Mary Beth said simple, “It. Was. GREAT!”
She elaborated by adding, “It went exactly like I thought it should have done. Just seeing the looks on the faces of the little kids was worth all the hard work and everything!”
Another facet Tackett was very impressed with was summed up as she said, while looking west down Main Street, “We have people all over the place! I love it!”
The “Mayor of Who-Ville” for this year was City Councilman Jon Abernethy, who donned the butterfly-like long eyebrows and walked around Cherryville’s Main Street greeting everyone who came out with a jaunty, “Welcome to Who-Ville! Welcome to Who-Ville,” or some variation on that theme. Chamber Board member Gary Dellinger was a Who-Ville citizen, while members of the Cherryville Little Theater troupe donned costumes and played the parts of the beloved Dr. Seuss characters The Cat in the Hat; Thing 1 and Thing 2;  and other characters. The night really got rolling when Cherryville Police Officer Josh Colvard finally found the Grinch, hiding out in the huge crowd, and finally escorted him to the mini-park gazebo stage so he could meet all the little kids and their parents who all came out to see him. It was, after all, his night!
The Grinch (played by Mr. David Wright) was perfect and he really got into his part as he talked with all the kids about what they wanted for Christmas. Down the road was the real Santa Claus (in the person of “Santa” Floyd) who was busy doing his part to make sure all the little tykes got their Christmas wishes and request in early!
Christmas music was provided by DJ Larry Wright, who by day, is a City Water Works employee, but loves to play music at various city events as well as other local events where his musical skills are needed.
Mrs. Tackett and the City noted their thanks to the Cherryville Police and Fire Departments as well as all the city and other personnel who helped set up Who-Ville and take it down later on, as well as all those who took part in constructing the sets, the buildings; the vendors and merchants of the city of Cherryville and from near and far who came and transacted business during the event.
As always, Mrs. Tackett and the City and Chamber’s work during this season is never done as they have the Saturday, Dec. 10 Cherryville Christmas Parade, which starts at 10 a.m. This event too is a well-known, and much-loved celebration of the Reason for the Season, the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
For more information on the Christmas Parade either visit the city’s web site at, check out their Facebook page, or call the Chamber’s office at (704) 435-3451, during business hours.
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Some of the volunteers – including Cherryville Mayor H.L. Beam, III (second from left) – hard at work at Cherryville’s 2022 14th Annual Community Thanksgiving Meal, boxing up the meals that were taken to the folks in the drive-through line outside the Post 100 American Legion Building. (photo by Michael E. Powell/CF Media)

14th Annual Community Thanksgiving Meal feeds 1,079 people

Organizers, Food Lion say 2022 event another successful outreach to town’s citizens


The Saturday, Nov. 19, 14th Annual Cherryville Thanksgiving Community Meal was, by all accounts, a great success in that over 1,070 people received warm, nutritious Thanksgiving meals, thanks to a dedicated group of volunteers and their equally dedicated organizers. Like last year, it was a ‘drive-thru’ event, which director of volunteers Tammy Campbell, worked well for everyone this year as it did last year.
This year’s meal service and preparation was once held at the Post 100 American Legion building, located at 215 N. Pink St., Cherryville, and Mrs. Campbell noted it was again sponsored by Food Lion.
Mrs. Campbell said, “Everything went well this year. We served 1,079 plates. That is the biggest year yet. We had, in all, about 50 volunteers. We hope to be able to do it the old way by next year if this crazy COVID will go away. I am so thankful to live in such a loving town that comes together to do
It was also noted by organizers that the Meals on Wheels folks in Cherryville did get a plate, loaded with all the fixings, for their Thanksgiving meal. As of the 11 a.m. start, 70 of those meals had already gone out, with more even on their way.
And, as was done last year, and year’s past, Mrs. Campbell said local churches sent volunteers to help out with serving the meals as well as picking up their shut-in’s meals.
Tammy noted, “(We) still (have the) same people (helping us); Food Lion donated the food and a crew from Food Lion and I work with Cherryville Area Ministries to put the dinner on. I have volunteers from several churches and organizations (who came to help).”
Campbell noted the Legion Building’s parking lot was once again set up and divided off by orange traffic cones directing the incoming vehicles who came by to pick up plates where to go once they entered, and where to exit after they got their meals.
Campbell noted her volunteers in the Legion building’s kitchen prepared the meals.
Volunteer Rick Jenks said everything, as of the start of the meal, “…went really well,” adding that Max Jonas and the Food Lion crews were really tremendous as they made and brought food from preparation sites such as Anthony Grove Baptist Church and First Wesleyan Church of Cherryville, to name a few.
“Food Lion cooked the turkeys, I believe,” said Mr. Jenks, “as well as the green beans, corn and cranberries.” Jenks said Mr. Jonas prepared the potato salad and the slaw at Anthony Grove Baptist Church.
With the huge success of the 2022 event, the organizers are looking forward to next year’s event, and hopefully being able to feed even more people.
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Striking a pose – CHS’ ball boy and sports team manager, Lee Roy Montgomery, prior to a recent Ironmen home game at Rudisill Stadium.

CHS’ Montgomery chosen as the 2022 Christmas Parade Grand Marshal

Says he’s just “…
a regular guy who works every day!”


Add another accolade to Lee Roy Montgomery’s list of honors and accomplishments – he has been chosen to be the 2022 Cherryville Christmas Parade’s Grand Marshal. The parade is Dec. 10, at 10:30 a.m.a
In an Oct. 26, 2022 Eagle article, Lee Roy was reported as being, “…a living, breathing sports icon and not just for his beloved Ironmen,” but now he can add one more thing to his growing list of things he is well known for.
CHS Athletic Director Scott Harrill asked Lee Roy what he thought when he found out about being chosen to be the parade’s GM.
Said Harrill, “Lee Roy said it was a very big surprise to be picked to be the Grand Marshal.”
Lee also added, “I’ve never done anything like this before. (I’ll be) so excited to see everyone that morning. I love Cherryville! I am really excited – and shocked – that they picked me. I’m just a regular guy who works every day.”
Additionally, Lee Roy noted he looking forward to seeing all the great people of Cherryville, adding, “I love everyone here in Cherryville. These are my friends. I want to thank all the people who always support me.”
He continued, “This is not about me; it is about everyone who has always been so nice to me and helped work with me. The people at CHS, the people around town, the coaches, the fans, just everybody!”
When asked what Cherryville means to him, Lee said, “It means a whole lot to me. I was raised here, went to school here. People know me. It puts a smile on my face when people say, “Hey Lee Roy!’ It just means everything to me; to see the families I went to school with have kids come through school.”
Lee Roy was asked what words of advice he could give people in Cherryville. He replied, “I try to treat everyone like they are special. Live a life thanking God every day. God gave me a great life. He blesses me every day. Try to live for Him and treat everyone nice.”
Lee Roy continued, “My wife, Bertha is a great blessing, and my best friend. She has been so supportive of all that I do. She loves the people of Cherryville.”
Lee Roy said he has been married to his wife, Bertha, for 11 years and they had a recent anniversary – Nov. 10.
Lee graduated from CHS in 1982, works at CHS, starting there in 1993 as a custodian.
As for his feelings about being an Ironman and getting to work at his alma mater, he said, “The Ironmen have been good to me. I love all things about Cherryville and the Ironmen. If I could do it all over again I sure would!”
Previously, in last October’s Eagle article, CHS Principal Shawn Hubers said, “Lee Roy is an amazing person! He is such a hard worker and is so dedicated to Cherryville High School. Everyone in our building loves Lee and respects him because of how hard he works and how he treats everyone he comes in contact with. Lee’s dedication to CHS is unmatched and in my short time at CHS I couldn’t imagine this place without him.”
CHS AD Harrill, who has the greatest respect for the man, said of his friend and fellow worker in sports, “Lee Roy Montgomery is one of the best men I have ever known in my life. He is one of my true friends who will do anything in the world for me or anyone who needs help. He has a heart of gold and makes this world a better place. He is the true Ironman at Cherryville High School. Lee Roy graduated in 1982 and has been helping out with Cherryville sports for the last 40 years. He sure makes my job as a coach and Athletic Director much better. If you ever need to smile or laugh a little, hang out with Lee Roy. His wife is always supportive of Lee Roy and his role at CHS. Anywhere you go in the state of NC, one of the first questions opposing teams or communities ask is, ‘Where is Lee Roy?!’ He is known state-wide and deserves every accolade he receives!”
Again, look for Lee Roy at the Dec. 10, 2022 Cherryville Christmas Parade, which starts at 10:30 a.m.
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Post 100 Commander Mike Robinson welcomes all the veterans to the 11-11-2022 Veterans Day ceremony held at the Cherryville Legion building. (photo by MEP/The Eagle/CF Media)

Cherryville honors all who served at Veterans Day ceremony

Parade scheduled for Friday, Nov. 11, 2022 canceled due to weather; moved to Post 100 building


There was to be a Veterans Day Parade, on Friday, Nov. 11, 2022, but nature had other ideas, as a late in the season hurricane – named Nicole (later a tropical storm) – caused rain showers to be forecast, effectively curtailing what would have been a great Veterans Day Parade.
Nevertheless, honoring those who served still came to fruition on Friday, Nov. 11, 2022 at 10:30 a.m., as many Cherryville veterans and their family members and caregivers, along with members of the Post 100 Ladies Auxiliary and Sons of the American Legion, met at the Post 100 American Legion Building to pay honor and tribute to those who served this great country, protecting her from all enemies, both foreign and domestic, many of whom gave their lives to that end.
The parade was to have begun with all veterans meeting in parking lot between City Hall and the old BB&T bank building at 9:45 a.m., then ending at the Mini-Park, with the keynote speaker being the Rev. Dr. Billy Lowe, pastor of Cherryville’s First Presbyterian Church, himself an Air Force veteran of the Vietnam War.
In addition to Rev. Lowe, Cherryville Mayor H.L. Beam, III spoke, reading aloud from a proclamation supporting “Operation Green Light” which he then presented to Post 100 Commander Mike Robinson.
Guest speaker the Rev. Dr. Billy Lowe, pastor of Cherryville’s First Presbyterian Church, and an Air Force veteran of the Vietnam War, spoke about how emotional Veterans Day is for him.
“We are grateful for your patriotic service,” said Dr. Lowe to the gathered veterans. “Just 50 years ago this day I was making preparations to leave for Vietnam. You all deserve big pats on the back for what you did!”
The Rev. Dr. Lowe then talked about loving to teach others and noted one of his
favorite things to talk about is the history of how Veterans Day started, as well as why we have a Veterans Day and a Memorial Day, and the differences between the two holidays.
Said Dr. Lowe, “You know, Veterans Day was originally called Armistice Day as it was created after the end of World War I.” He then went on to note Cherryville connection with an aspect of how unit patches got their start around that time with the creation of the now-famous WWI 81st Infantry (The Wildcats) Division patch – a brick-red wildcat stitched onto a dark green background. It paved the way, said Dr. Lowe, for all future Army arm patches and became the main way U.S. military units to identify themselves.
A collector of ‘militaria’ himself, Dr. Lowe also noted how one Cherryville veteran of the Great War was a member of the Stonewall Brigade, a.k.a. the Wildcats, and his name was Sgt. Jacob Costner.
Dr. Lowe wrapped up his talk about the various branches of the U.S. military (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard), noting we now have a new one: the U.S. Space Force.
Commander Robinson took the podium and asked who the oldest veterans were who were present and received a couple of men who said they were, two of whom were identified as Mr. Sherman Brown and Mr. Gene Dellinger.
After also recognizing the members of the Ladies Auxiliary and their selfless work in organizing the ceremony, Commander Robinson thanked everyone for attending, adding, “God bless you, and we appreciate your being here!”
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City worker Jarrod Hunt works on getting the second Veterans banner onto the attachment that fits on the new downtown light poles. The city crew worked on the south side of Main Street staring out, moving their way up and down both sides of the street. (photo by MEP/the Eagle/CF Media)

Veterans banners hung last week on Main Street’s new poles


As you are driving down Main Street Cherryville be sure to look up and pay heed to the nicely colored banners floating from the new lampposts. Why, you ask? Because they pay homage to a group of men and women without whose services and sacrifices many of us wouldn’t have the many freedoms we all hold so dear in this great land of ours.
I am referring to the Veterans banners showcasing the many Cherryville service members who served in the various armed forces from WWI, WWI, Korea, and Vietnam, on down to the  smaller  wars and conflicts we are familiar with today.
Downtown Director David Day looked on as a small but active crew of city employees (namely Mitch Angel, Terry Clinton, and Jarrod Hunt) went about putting the colorful banners up as folks drove slowly by, looking upward to what all was going on.
Mr. Day said this wasn’t the first time the city has hung the banners, elaborating, “This is the third time we’ve taken orders and hung banners. The first (time) was Veterans Day 2020; we had around 12 flags.”
Day noted the second time was Memorial Day 2021 and the city, “…added around 25 more.”
He continued, “This time we took orders for 25 more flags. We did not hang them this past 2022 Memorial Day as the light poles were not installed due to the revitalization. We have 41 poles on Main Street from Depot to Mulberry, and we are striving to get two flags per pole in the future.”
David also noted that, time permitting, the city will be hanging all the previous and new banners. “This should be around 65 total banners,” he added.
When asked how long the city plans on leaving them up and if they will all come down after Veteran’s Day, Day said, “The Public Works department started hanging them on Wednesday, Nov. 2. The new banner poles had to be added to the brand-new light poles so it’s taking them a bit longer. They will remain up through the third week in November, or until we begin hanging the Christmas decorations.”
It is to be noted that each of the Veterans flags were “100 percent” donated to the city by families and friends of the veteran, said Mr. Day.
“We used a company out of Raleigh before but now our local Modern Printing is able to do them so we used them for this past order and will continue to use them for other Main Street banners. Casey Sipe helped with the new banners and also has done some other banners that will be hung following the Holiday season,” said Day.
While it is true flags/banners will not be located on any mini-park poles, as those poles will not accommodate the size of the banner, said Mr. Day, they will, however, be – time permitting for public works crew to do so – “…hung from Depot to Mulberry streets on all the new light poles. These banners will be a great tribute to our local heroes.”
For more information on these banners, call the Chamber of Commerce at (704) 435-3451 or visit the city’s web site at
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Charlotte stained glass artisan Natalie Bork, with Shed Brand Studios, is shown here painstakingly applying final touches to the restored signs. (photo provided)

Cherryville bank’s stained glass windows professionally restored


A couple of recently restored stained glass windows that formerly hung in Cherryville’s First National Bank look great and are ready to be seen by an appreciative public, according to a recent email sent to the Eagle.
Sid Stroupe, a local volunteer, said a Charlotte restorer had been found who took on the job and made the windows look like they had just been set in their leaded mullions. Stroupe said the two windows had been boxed up and stored in the Museum.
Said Mr. Stroupe, “These two stained glass windows were recently completely restored back to (their) original form.”
He continued, “I researched restorers in the Charlotte area, settling on one recommended by City Councilman Gary Freeman, ‘Shed Brand Studios’, and I engaged them. After four months work, they are complete; one for the (Cherryville Historical) Museum’s display and the other one hopefully gifted by the Museum to Mr. Patrick O’Leary for hanging in the bank building when it’s completed.”
Stroupe noted that artisan, Natalie Bork of Charlotte, with ‘Shed Brand Studios’, undertook the project, painstakingly applying the important final touches to the restored glass artworks.
Stroupe continued, “Mr. Doug Blackburn,  a  local, long time Cherryville historian and I researched the pieces and we surmise that the two signs were created and hung as an ‘early 20th Century’-era advertisement for the bank’s ‘national’ status, obtained in 1908. During those days most banks of its size were ‘local’ and subject to the whims and turns of the local economy. Then – Bank President Samuel S. Mauney and the bank board were certainly proud to advertise the safety and prestige of the newly renamed Cherryville National Bank.”
Stroupe said that while there are no records of who and when exactly the damaged stained glass signs were given to the museum, “…it is suspected it was perhaps at the time of the acquisition by Southern (later BB&T) Bank many years ago.”
Museum Board President Alice R. Dellinger said, “I am grateful that the Museum Board members voted to have these two signs restored after such a long period of time. Our goal at the museum is to research and restore anything we can to preserve the history of Cherryville, our wonderful town.”
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Lee Roy Montgomery, the longest serving ‘ball boy’ in NC sports, on the sidelines at a recent CHS Ironmen football game at Rudisill Stadium, watching where the game ball is and waiting to go out onto the field – when needed – and switch it out. (photo by MEP/The Eagle/CF Media)

CHS’ Montgomery longest serving sports “ball boy” in state of NC

Works with Ironmen football, basketball, baseball; worked NC/SC Shrine Bowl


Lee Roy Montgomery is a living, breathing sports icon and not just for his beloved Ironmen; he is an icon who can claim a unique title: he is the longest serving sports “ball boy” in the state.
By his own estimation, he figures there are just a few guys like him still doing their unique and strenuous job. If you don’t believe it’s strenuous, try getting out on the field or on the court at every game for as many years as Lee Roy and his fellow ball retrievers have and see how you fare. You have to be an athlete yourself just to keep up with Lee and guys like him.
No doubt about it; Lee Roy Montgomery is a one-of-a-kind, top-notch lover of all things Ironmen sports and will look you in the eye and flat out tell you, “I love my job!” and mean every word of it!
And his fans (and, yes… he has many of them!) love him too. Just listen to them yell for him any time he runs out onto the field or puts the basketball men through their pre-game routine at Nixon Gym. They. Love. Him!
For Lee Roy, the title “ball boy” is an appellation of great honor and he wears it proudly. The umpires and referees all know that when he is on the job, the job IS his number one priority. If he isn’t there, for whatever reason, they all want to know where he is, and God help the coach or person who doesn’t have a good explanation for where he is and why he isn’t there.
Recently, Lee Roy was asked how long he has been the ball boy for CHS, as well as a few other questions. The following is what he said about his long and storied career.
When asked when he exactly stared his job and with what sport, or coach, Lee said, “Since 1979, when I was in high school. I started doing it for Coach Buddy Bridges. I’ve worked with football, basketball, and baseball. Coach Bridges asked a friend of mine if I could help us out. I said ‘yes’.”
Though both of Lee’s parents have passed away in the last few years, he has family in Cherryville still; brother, Larry Montgomery, and his sisters, Lynn and Muffey. Like Lee Roy, Larry also works for the Gaston County Schools at John Chavis Middle School.
Lee said he has been married to his wife, Bertha, for 11 years and they have an upcoming anniversary (Nov. 10).
Lee Roy, who graduated from CHS in 1982, works at CHS. He said, “I started here in 1993 as a custodian. I work with three others: Jody Cochrane, Adrian Hunter, and Nikki Morgan.”
In addition to being the longest serving ball boy/manager in NC high school sports, Lee Roy added, “I had the privilege of being selected to work the Shrine Bowl for the NC and SC game for five years. This was a great honor for me and for Cherryville.
Some of Lee’s great memories or highlights as the Ironmen ball boy and manager include the time CHS beat Mooresville in double-overtime going into the playoffs in the late ‘90s, as well as the time the Ironmen beat the number three team in the state back in 2003.
Said Lee, “Those were some great wins! We went to the third round of the playoffs.”
He continued, “In basketball, (great) memories was back in the rival days of Cherryville and East Lincoln in 2007 and 2008; memories of the Shelby and Cherryville games in the early 2000’s; standing room only and the gyms would always be sold out. I can remember people always calling me wanting me to get them a ticket and help them get in the game. Baseball state championships were always great memories for me. The year we beat Whiteville was an awesome experience.”
Lee Roy said, “I want to thank all my coaches along the way – Coach Harrill, Coach Bridges, Coach Heavner, Coach Pruitt, Coach Quattlebaum, Coach Mauldin, the late Coach Beck, Coach Fox, Coach Bray, Coach Helms, Coach Davis, Coach Griggs, Coach Tate, Coach Black, Coach Freeman, the late Coach Watkins. The Ironmen have been good to me. I love all things about Cherryville and the Ironmen. If I could do it all over again I sure would!”
CHS Principal Shawn Hubers said, “Lee Roy is an amazing person! He is such a hard worker and is so dedicated to Cherryville High School. Everyone in our building loves Lee and respects him because of how hard he works and how he treats everyone he comes in contact with. Lee’s  dedication to CHS is unmatched and in my short time at CHS I couldn't imagine this place without him.”
Former CHS Principal Kevin Doran, now Principal at Cramerton Middle School, said, “Lee Roy is the kind of person that we all should aspire to be – hard working, loyal, and always (having) a positive attitude.”
Mr. Doran’s memory of Lee is as follows: “In my time in Cherryville, Lee Roy won the Gaston County Custodian of the Year. It was a great honor for Lee Roy, but my favorite part was what happened afterward. We arranged a surprise pep rally for Lee Roy when we came back from the reception. All 545 CHS students filled the gym and sat in absolute silence waiting for Lee Roy to come into the gym. I have never seen or heard high school students that quiet and I believe that was a testament to how much they care about him. When Lee Roy walked in the sound was deafening. It was a great day in celebration of Lee Roy and one of my favorites at CHS!”    
CHS Athletic Director Scott Harrill has the greatest respect for the man.
Of Lee he said, “Lee Roy Montgomery is one of the best men I have ever known in my life. He is one of my true friends who will do anything in the world for me or anyone who needs help.  Lee Roy has a heart of gold and makes this world a better place.  He is the true Ironman at Cherryville High School. Lee Roy graduated in 1982 and has been helping out with Cherryville sports for the last 40 years. He sure makes my job as a coach and Athletic Director much better. If you ever need to smile or laugh a little, hang out with Lee Roy. His wife is always supportive of Lee Roy and his role at CHS. Anywhere you go in the state of NC, one of the first questions opposing teams or communities ask is, ‘Where is Lee Roy?!’ He is known state-wide and deserves every accolade he receives!”