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Dr. W. Jeffery Booker Gaston County Superintendent of Schools

Gaston Schools’ Superintendent Booker makes first day of school rounds


On Monday, Aug. 23, as many thousands of Gaston County School students and their teachers were enjoying their first day back to school, Todd Hagans, Chief Communications Officer for Gaston County Schools noted the school superintendent was doing the same.
In a recent media release, Hagans said, “Superintendent of Schools Dr. W. Jeffrey Booker spent the first day (Monday, Aug. 23) stopping by schools to greet students and staff.  He started at W.A. Bess Elementary in Gastonia where he talked to several teachers, observed students settling into first- and second-grade classrooms, and welcomed a group of kindergarteners to school for the very first time. By lunchtime, Booker had visited seven schools.”
Said Dr. Booker, “It was great seeing the students arrive at school this morning. Everyone was positive and upbeat and ready to begin a brand-new school year. We know that we will face challenges this year because the pandemic is ongoing, but our hope is that this school year will be as normal as possible for students and teachers.”
He continued, “The first day of school is a time when the slate is wiped clean, and everyone gets a fresh start. Our teachers are prepared to help students build on what they learned and accomplished last year, and they are going to do everything they can to make sure our students grow and thrive in the year ahead.”
Hagans noted Dr. Booker said he wanted to thank the teachers and parents for all
they have done to prepare Gaston School students for that al-important ‘first day of school’.
“We like to say that opening day is the most exciting day of the academic year, and we saw a lot of excitement and enthusiasm (that) morning that we hope will carry all the way through to the last day of school on June 1, 2022” said Dr. Booker.
Hagans said it is Booker’s goal to visit all 56 schools in the Gaston County school district during the first two weeks of school.
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Bret Morey and son, Elijah, with their new Elijah’s X-Treme hot sauce vending machine. (photo by MEP/The Eagle/CF Media)

Father, son hot sauce entrepreneurs expand business again

Bret Morey: “Our 2021 on-line sales will exceed $1.8 million”


Asked to describe their most recent move and expansion for their ever-growing hot sauce business at the ribbon cutting on Friday, Aug. 20, former Cherryville resident and Gaston County entrepreneur, Bret Morey, said simply, “We are blessed beyond measure!”
And he is not kidding, as he described how their small, seven-person business started out with him, son, Elijah, and one or two sauce cooking pans out of their own home kitchen and burgeoned into what it is now: a large Gaston County-based company that markets its own Elijah’s Extreme Ghost Pepper sauce, as well as a whole family of other flavorful sauces, across the nation and the world.
Their growth has caused them to move twice in the last year, Bret said.
“For an old marketing guy like me, keeping up with the latest trends and how to reach folks, the world is a different place. Marketing today is unbelievable, complicated and yet extremely rewarding as long as you understand what to do and how to leverage it.
“I had dabbled in social media to the best of my ability and had some success. However, Elijah took a full-on approach. Being tuned-in to trends, social media platforms and what’s most popular and where the best audience can be found for our products and learning how to leverage that is no small task.
“Elijah began taking over all the marketing while still in college. We agreed on a budget that began as a daily spend for ads and he began to craft content, pictures, headlines, create and edit his own videos, adding music and even voice overs. Then
would test each to see what was working best. This took hours and hours of time; the net result was more folks seeing our brand, more folks buying from our website, grocery and other stores and of course Amazon. As sales began to increase so did the need to invest more to continue that reach.”
Bret noted after Elijah graduated college he began digging deeper into understanding the social media platforms, creating more and more content, understanding how to best shape the audiences, engagements and demographics, learning what was working and what was not.
“He built on the successes and learned from the failures,” he said. “I always told him you learn from the mistakes so you know what not to do later, and it makes you better. Finding out what doesn’t work is just as important as what does.”
Morey said the result – by May 2020 – was they saw sales like it was Christmas time, and knew they needed more space than our garage to manage our accelerated growth.
He continued, “We found a 2,500-square foot warehouse space in Ranlo in an old mill, cleaned it up, painted it and made it our home. Business shot up over 400 percent! We moved in Aug. 1 2020 and quickly got set up with our packing table from the garage and adding two more. By November, we saw our sale trend up fast! By December, we (Elijah, myself and our one employee, Juan) were packing 500-600 orders a day! We had to have the post office come pick up from us three times a day, each time filling their van. And here I was thinking managing 100-plus orders a day would be a lot!”
Morey said a great deal of that carried over into 2021, and they added another packing table, now with four (tables), they realized the 2,500-sq. ft. space was not big enough. By March they barely had space to move around with the need to have more inventory on-hand to pack and ship quickly, we needed more space. They found a bigger, 6,000-sq. ft. warehouse with a small office area that was a perfect fit for them, he said.
“Just like before, we cleaned and painted and up-fit the whole space to be our own, 'home away from home’. Adding four more packing tables, (now with 8) and hiring four more people (three for packing and shipping and one to help Elijah with marketing). We moved in June 1, got setup in a weekend and only 10 months after our first move out of the garage. We have been extremely blessed! Our focus, as soon as we got moved, is on our fourth quarter sales and our Christmas selling season,” he said.
Elijah’s savvy social media marketing, (with help now), working with influencers, creating more content and growing our reach, Bret said their products have been seen by over 12.5 million folks in just the last 90 days alone – and growing.
“We now have hundreds of recipes using our sauces now on our own Pintrest page and website with step-by-step videos as well. Elijah has also created a weekly recipe news letter, 'Cookin’ it up with Elijah’s Xtreme’, only in its fifth week and already reaching 5,000 who signed up to get it. There’s no magic, just a lot of hard work creating content daily, testing ads, then growing the ones working,” he said, adding the results are exponential growth with sales rocketing up 400 percent-plus over 2020’s numbers.
“Elijah’s Xtreme brand is now reaching millions of folks and building a broader base. The best part is we’re seeing an average of 22 percent repeat customer orders. And as that continues, in 4 years we’ll sell as much to repeat customers as to new ones!”
(Morey noted their on-line sales will exceed $1.8 million for 2021 and their total gross sales on overall channels is $2.5-2.9 million – he added, “Just think, our sales for 2019 was $298,000. God is good!”
When asked what was next in the grand scheme for Elijah’s X-Treme, Morey replied, “We knew when we leased the new warehouse we’d outgrow it in less than two years, so we got a shorter lease agreement. Our ultimate goal is we’re already working toward buying land and building our own 30,000-40,000 sq. ft. office warehouse by 2023. Also, adding in another 1,000 to 2,000 grocery stores by 2023, and increasing our on-line sales to surpass our Amazon sales (2021 Amazon online sales alone is over $1.2 million!).
Additionally, Bret noted how just about a month ago Elijah got their two of their best-selling products launched on, which will take time to build over the next year or two.
“We got a request for us to add our products to a wholesale site called Faire. They sell to brick-and-mortar stores across the U.S., in Canada, and to Europe,” he said, adding, “We launched this about three months ago and have already sold into Canada, Italy, and Scotland. Plus a couple dozen shops in the USA with at least three that have re-ordered.”
There is so much more to tell about their new products on the horizon (a 5-pack gift set/box, out just in time for Christmas; the launch of their Xtreme Regret Reserve (an even hotter hot sauce than their hottest to date); re-working their Tangy Fire BBQ-Marinade into a Beer-Bacon and Fire BBQ-Marinade; and lastly, a mild green sauce to finish out their line of mild sauces, to be simply called,  'Elijah’s’.
The duo and their company wanted to be close to home, and they are naturally all about community and hometown, so being close to other local businesses was important in their location decisions.
“We want to support other local small business and this was another way to do that,” said Bret.
They currently we have four business channels: On-line Amazon, our website,, and ebay. They also sell via Speciality Wholesale – wholesale distributors like Bass Pro and Cabela’s nationwide; UNFI and KeHE Distributors (wholesale to grocery); where they’re currently located in 1,000 (i.e. Ingles, Winn-Dixie, Fresco Y Mas, Harveys and a few other smaller chains); and distributors, such as Blue Mountain (one they have grown with almost from the start. They wholesale to Ingles, tons of “mom and pop’s” in three states.
And coming soon is Elijah’s Xtreme Vending, said Bret.
“It will be fully loaded with all our hot sauces and gift boxes! To land somewhere in either Concord Mills, or the outlet mall off Steel Creek Rd. Then if that goes as planned, we’ll be creating a business model to franchise the vending machine as a stand-alone business!”
In addition to CEO Bret and CMO Elijah, there are five more employees and they’ll be hiring three more soon.
“There are Faith (marketing support, works on product recipe creation); Gabby (marketing support); Juan (packing and shipping supervisor); packers Philip and Melody; and my wife, Monique, our support and advocate, but she’s not so much involved with the day-to-day aspects of the business.”
Lastly, Bret noted they are grateful for all the support, and are humbled and blessed by their growth!
Said Bret, “The comments from folks on social media and other places are so amazing!. It’s wild for us to see how so many folks love our sauces that much! Business is growing, our base is becoming bigger, more folks are becoming aware of our brand and it’s allowing us to support our business, the community, and employee others! As Elijah put the other day, he said, 'Dad, I’m so thankful I get to do what I want every day. I love it and love growing our business!' We’re excited to see what’s yet ahead in this next chapter of our story, which is God’s story, for His glory!”
To learn more about Elijah’s X-Treme, visit, or email Bret at
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In this group photo are: Ashley Dixon, Katie Estes, Tammy Wilson, Wyatt Wilson (project creator and coordinator), Mary Capps, Cherryville Elementary Principal Mrs. Audrey Hovis, Lori Hughes, Sara Cardamone (Miss Boyer’s cousin), and Cherryville Elementary’s Resource Specialist & Librarian, Melanie Sherrill. Kneeling in front of the group are Wyatt’s twin sister and 2021 CHS grad, Izzy Wilson, and Gracie Cardamone. (photo by MEP/The Eagle/CF Media)

Unique room, done in memory of Boyer, will help elementary students

Sensory Room/ Calming Castle
brainchild of Eagle Scout Wyatt Wilson


On Monday, Aug. 9, a very special room was dedicated at Cherryville Elementary School. It has a two-fold goal; one, to remember a very special person and teacher, Ms. Nicole Boyer; and two, to help children with special needs have a room where they can come and sit or play and relax or otherwise explore learning
avenues that involve reaching out and exploring things on s sensory level.
New Cherryville Principal Mrs. Audrey Hovis, said she a 2021 graduate from Cherryville High School, Wyatt Wilson, complete his Eagle Scout project at the school this summer.
Said Mrs. Hovis, “He completed this project in memory of his previous teacher, Nicole Boyer, who passed away of cancer several years ago.”
Wilson is a freshman band student who plans to major in English at Western Carolina University, and hopes to become a teacher one day, she said. His mother, Tammy, is also the school psychologist.
A small group of around 10 or so gathered around 10 a.m., that Monday, including the school’s former Principal, Mr. Shawn Hubers, who transferred to Cherryville High School. Mrs. Hovis, transferred to serve as Principal of Cherryville Elementary School in June. She was most recently the Principal at Holbrook Middle School, she said.
Eagle Scout (Troop 323) Wyatt Wilson said the Sensory Room/Calming Castle was possible thanks to the help and support he received from his parents and family; his friends and fellow Scouts and Scout leaders; and others who saw the project as something whose time had come.
He and his Scout friends, who worked with him on the project, put in many hours, he said. Those who came and helped were: Ethan Carpenter, Ben Hayes, Jackson Childers, JT Willis, and the Sherrills, Ethan, Kevin, and Colin.
Said Wilson, “The Sensory Room area at Cherryville Elementary School, known as the ‘Calming Castle,’ has a purpose and that is to benefit the Exceptional Children’s Department at the elementary school.
“This room will serve as a place where children with autism, ADHD, and various other mental or behavioral impairments can be soothed and calmed by sensory tasks. The room holds numerous sensory tasks like the body-hugging swing and pea pod, the ‘mermaid’ fabric wall, and the sensory table.
“This room is dedicated to the late Miss Nicole Boyer who served as a teacher at Cherryville Elementary School – she was actually my first and third grade teacher.”
Wyatt noted the project began at the end of July and was actually completed in one day. Much of the material was ordered from Amazon with many of the tools coming from Cherryville’s own Ferguson’s ACE Hardware store, he added.
At the event, Wilson said he wanted to thank all who came and to thank all the donors.
Said Wilson, “We had seven Scouts who worked very hard on this project with me, and it was unheard of that we finished an Eagle project in one day!”
There is a plaque dedicated to Ms. Boyer, and Lori Hughes noted, “This room is a great part of her legacy. I think she would approve. Nicole would be speechless. The kids are going to love it!”
Mrs. Hovis said, “I’m excited! It is an amazing addition for our students. They can now have a calming place to come to.”
She also noted the students, when they come, will have an adult with them at all times, adding that, to her knowledge, this school having the room is a ‘first’, so far as she has ever seen or heard about.
Former Cherryville Elementary Principal Shawn Hubers looked around, clearly impressed when he came into the room.
Said Mr. Hubers, “Ms. Boyer was a terrific teacher, and she meant a lot to Cherryville Elementary. Wyatt’s project is a beautiful tribute to Ms. Boyer and the sensory room is a great addition to Cherryville Elementary.”
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The small indoor garden before being cleared off by Mr. Rikard and helpers. The small plaque seen in the background was placed there by Cherryville South students in memory of JCMS teacher Alex Blackwelder. It says, “You never fail until you quit trying.” (photos by Principal Matt Rikard or provided)

JCMS seeks help in making school’s gardens grow again

Principal wants to beautify student’s
outdoor learning areas


Chavis Middle School Principal Matt Rikard and others have been hard at work to redo and remake two on-campus gardens beautiful and useful again for his students.
When asked about the work, Rikard said, “The courtyard areas were in rough shape when I was appointed principal this past school year. Through working with Gaston County Schools and talking with students and teachers, the idea of converting them to outdoor classrooms and outdoor eating areas seemed like the best use for the space. Increasing usable space within the building is a great idea any time, but seems especially important given the circumstances that everyone has been dealing with over the past year.”
Rikard said a few big changes will take place with the gardens, hopefully before school starts.
Here’s a bit of what he has in mind, noting, “The smaller of the courtyards will be converted to all concrete. We hope to add tables where students can hold class and eat lunch in an outside setting. The larger of the courtyards will be leveled and rocks will be added. We would also like to add seating to this area as well to serve as outdoor classrooms and outdoor eating areas.
“Our goal is for the larger courtyard  to  also  contain two greenhouses for students to grow plants and study the life cycles. We also plan to use the flowers that are grown throughout the school as a beautification project.”
As far as asking for donations for the projects, Mr. Rikard said, “First, we would like to thank Gaston County Schools for helping JCMS take on such a wonderful project. We feel that these areas will benefit students now, and for years to come.
“With that being said, the next step is to attain the seating that is needed. The seating needs to be sustainable, and cleanable.”
He continued, “Our goal is to eventually purchase 15 to 20 metal picnic tables, much like the ones that are used throughout downtown Main Street. We have two fundraisers planned for this year, but donations would be greatly appreciated.”
He added that if anyone would be willing to help them purchase the seating for their students, checks can be made to JCMS and sent to the school to the attention of Financial Manager, Ms. Carla Steele.
Said Rikard, “Anyone who donates will be  recognized in some manner, such as a plaque in the areas listing the names of donors. If anyone would choose rather not to be recognized, please let us know. Personally, I would like to thank everyone in advance who are thinking of donating. This is a project that will directly impact our students’ education, and safety – by providing outdoor areas to gather. It is a true honor to serve as Principal at JCMS, and we look forward to being able to share the finished project with the people of Cherryville!”
Principal Rikard noted that once everything is placed or set up they would love to have an open house to showcase the finished areas.
“However,” he cautioned, “that would depend on safety protocols that we are following at the time. If an open house is not allowed to view the areas, we will have a virtual tour that will be shared for everyone to see.”
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Nancy C. Olls and Sarah Briggs, with Gaston County Schools, with the Battle of the Books trophy. (photo by Robert Webb/CHS)

Cherryville HS beats Highland Tech in 2021 “Battle of the Books”

School gets first win in Gaston County’s reading contest


Cherryville High School’s Mrs. Nancy C. Olls is proud of the school’s “Battle of the Books” reading team, of which she is the sponsor.
Olls, the School Library Media Coordinator and System’s Operator/Teacher, noted her small team bested the team from Highland School of Technology back in April 2021, taking home Gaston County Schools’ “High School Battle of the Books” gleaming silver trophy.
The Ironmen team, which consists of members Macy Bridges, Harley LaRoche, Bailey Dugan, Destany Fritzler, and Luca Bredin, has been in existence for three years, said Olls.
“We’ve competed twice and were ready to compete last year but were sidelined by COVID-19,” she said, adding that Macy Bridges “…is a founding member of the team.”
Olls noted the students read 16 books throughout the year and competed in April of this year, “…on a county-wide Quiz Bowl type of competition.”
She continued, “(The) Battle of the Books was created and is run by the N.C. School Library Media Association. This year, CHS was victorious and the students received medals for their work!”
Olls said the plan is to house the trophy in the library until next year’s competition.
The team is not without their support in this endeavor, noted Mrs. Olls, who continued, “The CHS Education Foundation supports us each year with the purchase of the books on the ‘battle’ list, subscription to a practice site, and transportation to the competition.”
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Fire Chief/City Manager Cash
retirement effective Jan. 1, 2022

Asst. Fire Chief Wofford promoted to Fire Chief effective Jan. 2, 2022


According to a media release from City Manager/Fire Chief Jeff Cash, he has announced his retirement as Fire Chief and City Manager effective Jan. 1, 2022, and the promotion of Assistant Fire Chief Jason Wofford to Fire Chief effective Jan. 2, 2022.
For four decades Chief Cash has served the City of Cherryville, beginning his career at the Cherryville Fire Department in December of 1981. He was promoted to Fire Chief in 1984, and then promoted to City Manager/Fire Chief in 2018.
In the media release, it is noted Chief Cash, “…has given the City of Cherryville exceptional service for 40 years. He will leave behind a legacy of growing this department in all capacities such as personnel, equipment, apparatus, call volume, training, and lowering their ISO rating to a Level 2.
“During his tenure as City Manager, he has done a remarkable job of leading the City of Cherryville into projects that promote overall growth, updating critical infrastructure, and creating a stronger workforce.”
Assistant Fire Chief Wofford, noted the media release, “…began his career with the Cherryville Fire Department in February of 1989 as a Junior Firefighter, (then was) hired full-time in 1993 as a Driver/Engineer, promoted to Captain/Fire Marshal in 1998, and to Assistant Fire Chief in 2010.”
AFC Wofford holds the following certifications: Firefighter I & II, Hazardous Materials Level I, Driver Operator, ERT, EVD, Fire and Life Safety Educator I, II, III, Fire Investigator Technician, Fire Officer I, II, Instructor I, RT Ropes, RT VMR, Chief 101, Fire Inspector Level I, II, and III, and various other leadership courses.
The vacancies left by Chief Cash’s retirement and the promotion of Assistant Chief Wofford will be addressed internally through the Cherryville Fire Department.
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Cherryville Patrol Officer Jessica Richardson proudly shows off her Exceptional Duty Award, given by Chief Cam Jenks, for her role in helping rescue a family’s pet during a fire at their home.

Cherryville officers, staff, employees receive awards at recent Council meeting


Monday’s July 12 regular Council session was a relatively short meeting and concerned itself primarily with recognition of City employees and staff.
Before that took place though, Council voted on and approved the City Council meeting minutes of the Jun 14, regular session and the June 29, work session.
Following that, Mayor H.L. Beam, III noted in his comments to the Council that he and City Manager Jeff Cash met with CaroMont officials on June 17, regarding locating a medical office in Cherryville; attended the International Express ribbon cutting (also last month), and commented on how spectacular the town’s 2021 Independence Day Celebration was.
“City Manager Cash received a letter from an 81-year-old individual who lives out of town commenting on just how awesome Cherryville’s fireworks display was. She had never seen our display before and was very impressed with, she said. It is just one of many similar comments we have received on the celebration from those who came,” said Mayor Beam.
Beam also commented on the 2021 N.C. Dixie Youth Softball Tournament Cherryville hosted this past weekend, adding, “There were over 1,000 people in attendance just for the opening ceremony (at Rudisill Stadium last week). I want to thank the Cherryville churches who took part in helping feed the many teams and their families who are attending the tournament.” The tournament ended Tuesday, July 13.
Mayor Beam said he has been informed three Cherryville teams have advanced and will be going on to play in Louisiana and South Carolina.
Four City of Cherryville police officers: Derek Thom, Vince Burleson, Lt. Brandon Parker, Jessica Richardson, and Skylar Sisk were all recognized by the Council on the recommendation of Chief of Police Cam Jenks. One City employee, Trevor Haynes, was recognized for five years of service to the City of Cherryville.
Both Officer Thom’s and Burleson’s Certificates of Commendation noted their “Providing exceptional service with compassion” in the performance of their duties as the both “…responded to a call involving a citizen that was having medical problems due to their medication.” Chief Jenks noted both officers “…showed compassion and excellent service while ensuring the citizen received the correct care needed.” He went on to say, “The family of the citizen also wished to express gratitude for their compassion and willingness to go the extra mile.”
Patrol Officer Richardson’s Exceptional Duty Award was given at the behest of Chief Jenks, the Mayor and Council, and City Manager Cash for her going above and beyond the call of duty for “…providing service with compassion, along with prompt and alert actions at the scene of a house fire located at 1430 E. Main St.” resulting in rescuing the family’s pet from the fire on June 11.
Chief Jenks and the Mayor, City Council, and Mr. Cash recognized Lt. Brandon Parker and Patrol Officer Skylar Sisk with Meritorious Service Awards due to their going above and beyond the call of duty for “…providing prompt and alert actions” resulting in locating a missing non-verbal teen after an extensive search and rescue operation performed on April 28, in conjunction with another law enforcement agency.
Additionally, Mayor Beam noted that City Finance Director Dixie wall was given special recognition by Electricities, receiving their Rising Star Award. Mrs. Wall was nominated, he said, by City Manager Cash.
Next up on the agenda was Council’s approval of Stan Bumgarner to serve on the Cherryville Architectural Review Board. Mr. Bumgarner was nominated by CMSP Chairwoman Donna Beringer to fill the open position vacated due to the former individual not living in the local area, as per the new bylaws. Mr. Bumgarner will serve in the open seat until Dec. 31, of this year.
The item of consideration of the conditional use permit regarding the property at 1444 W. Academy Street, to be discussed by Planning and Zoning Director Derrick Mackey was postponed until the next regular Council session on Aug. 9.
Under “other business” the Council discussed alcohol sales on Main Street, with City Manager Cash noting such sales have to be “…five to six feet back from the road”; Downtown Director David Day noted the City’s new web site has been launched, and lastly, Councilman Freeman commented on the condition of the sidewalks on West Academy Street, saying they were “…in bad shape.” He asked if there was any money in the budget to fix them and City Manager Cash noted there was some Powell Bill money and that staff would look into getting them fixed as soon as possible.
With nothing further to be discussed, Council adjourned.
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The ribbon is cut by President and CEO Howard Shope (center with the big scissors) and his Michelle (standing next to his left) and Cherryville’s newest business, International Express Trucking, or IET, is officially open for business! (photos by MEP/The Eagle/CF Media)

International Express opens new trucking business in Cherryville

Firm is located in the Carolina Intermodal Business Park


Cherryville, once the home of one of the world’s largest trucking firms – Carolina Freight – was able to once again have another large trucking firm inside its city limits.
City and Chamber officials welcomed Mr. Howard Shope and International Express to Cherryville on Wednesday, June 23, with a ribbon cutting at their 1201 E. Church Street location.
International Express Trucking (IET) formed in 2001, according to a Power Point presentation Mr. Shope used to introduce all who came to the ribbon cutting and BBQ luncheon, to the growing company. International Express now has, he noted, counting their new Cherryville hub, five locations in five cities: Atlanta, GA; Lincolnton, NC; Gastonia, NC; Charlotte, NC; and Cherryville.
Shope noted their company has grown over the years to include, “…warehousing, distribution, repackaging, product sorting, and transportation services.”
After the prayer and blessing of the food by City Manager/Fire Chief Jeff Cash, Chamber Board Chairman Pete Craft welcomed Mr. Shope and his staff and employees to Cherryville, adding that the company’s location to the site of the old CF company acreage, brought back, “…many memories.”
Mayor  H.L.  Beam, III, agreed, adding, when it was his turn to speak, “This is my second trip down here. You all have really made the place look nice.” He, like many other Cherryville folks and former Carolina Freight employees present at the event, also noted that the company appeared to be busy, and “on the go!”
Mayor Beam continued, “It’s great to have your company here and great to see our town bringing in new businesses and people and watching the town grow!”
The trucking firm is located in what is called the Carolina Intermodal Business Park, and once complete, Mr. Shope noted its 72-plus acres of asphalt will have 300,000 square feet of space, allowing them to “…offer increased storage capacity and secure truck, trailer, and Ocean Container parking.” The site will also offer 24-hour security and “…cost-effective storage options for our customers,” he added.
Gaston County Commissioner for Cherryville Township Allen Fraley looked around and said, “This is exciting. It brings back a lot of memories. A lot of memories! I was a supervisor on this dock. It was a humming place then; 24/7/365! It was an amazing place to work and it is again! It will happen!”
State Representative Kelly Hastings (R-NC 110) noted it was an honor for him to be at the ribbon cutting. He spoke about all the highway work presently being done and how that will help businesses like IET and others who need better access to the major highways in and around Gaston and Cleveland Counties, and towns like Cherryville, Shelby, Dallas, and Lincolnton.
Mr. Shope, a Gaston County native and IET’s President and CEO, also welcomed everyone to their ribbon cutting and BBQ, and for offering them such great community support.
“As many of you here today know, everything comes to us via the trucking industry. We are an asset-base carrier, that is, we own our own trucks and equipment and properties,” he said. “Just about everything I know about entrepreneurship I learned from an 11th grade textbook on business given to me by my friend and a former North Gaston teacher, Randy Sellars. God has blessed us and it has grown from our original start to where we are today. We are now all over, and are very pleased to be in a community that loves transportation!”
Shope spoke about IET being able to offer what he termed a “level of technology” which will enable their customers to “…track, trace and monitor” shipments online by way of a “customer dashboard.”
The company, he noted, has “…almost 600,000 square feet of clean, well-lit and secure storage space” in their warehouses, with eco-friendly lighting and with CCTV monitoring and motion sensors.
“Additionally,” said Mr. Shope, “we will begin to explore adding a Free Trade Zone certification to the site in Cherryville. If we can make that happen, we feel it will allow us to offer additional services that should attract more businesses to the area. I am very happy with Cherryville, and the warm welcome we have received. The mayor and citizens of Cherryville, have offered us a very business friendly environment and that is very important to me as a business owner. We also want to thank Chief Cam Jenks and the Cherryville Police Department for being out here today and helping us with traffic control.”
He noted he and his wife Michelle are very thankful for that.
Shope concluded his talk by telling the crowd, “We are going to move to the future! By our employees help and hard work, this will be done; is being done.
For more information on IET and what they do or can do for your business, contact Mr. Shope via email at, or call them at (704) 424-5454, ext. 1200.
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Getting things started early Saturday morning, June 26, at the old bank building controlled burn by CFD firefighters and others from Waco and Howard’s Creek VFDs. (photo by Ryan Gunter)

Old savings and loan/law office building taken down in second controlled burn


The Cherryville Fire Department conducted their second controlled burn to clear land on the corner of North Cherry and East Church Streets on Saturday, June 26.
This time it was the building originally known as the Southeastern Savings and Loan, and later, as the Black Law Office Building. Chief Jeff Cash said the fire crews started around 7 a.m., adding, “We wrapped it up around 3 p.m. There wasn’t as much wind that day and the weather cooperated with us. Everything went well. There  were  no  problems associated with the burn. Everything worked according to plan.”
The first burn by the CFD was the old El Patron Mexican Restaurant located on the corner of Cherry and E. Church right next door to the old bank building/law office. That building went down without any problems, Chief Cash noted.
Assistant Fire Chief Jason Wofford noted the building’s brick walls fell in onto the burning structure, leaving pretty much nothing but the footprint of the building. AC Wofford added that once things cool off, the areas of the burns will be cleaned off at a later date, with whatever is left over of the debris being removed.
Chief Cash said there were only two other fire units on-scene at this most recent burn.
“The departments involved besides Cherryville were Waco and Howards Creek,” he said. “There were approximately 35 firefighters involved between all departments.”
Chief Cash also noted that, as far as these burns being used to help with some training for the Independence Day Celebration’s fireworks, “This training had nothing to do with our mutual aid departments. However, they will be standing by with brush trucks during our operations. The departments standing by will be Waco and Hugh’s Pond.”
Regarding the proposed CaroMont medical offices being built on the soon-to-be-cleared land on the corner, City Manager/Fire Chief Cash said, “The plans have not been finalized for the CaroMont facility, but they plan to start construction sometime in August.”

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Will 2021’s Independence Day Celebration see the large crowds like its 2019 predecessor? We certainly hope so! This year marks the much-loved festival’s reappearance since 2020’s shutdown due to COVID-19. (Eagle/CF Media file photo by Michael E. Powell)

2021 Independence Day event
back after COVID shutdown

Chamber says some sponsorship
opportunities still available


It has officially been a year now since Cherryville had their famous Independence Day Celebration thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic shutdowns.
This year’s festival promises to be different and more along the lines of what some are calling “normal”, or at least as normal as things can get.
In his letter dated June 15, City Manager and Fire Chief Jeff Cash once again let the town’s downtown merchants be aware that this year the city is hosting their Independence Celebration on Friday, July 2, 2021.
As Chief Cash said in his letter, “It will be an
event for the entire community. We will offer fun, food and fellowship, including music by ‘Too Much Sylvia’.”
He continued, “Please make plans to bring your family and friends to help us celebrate,” adding for folks to “…Please bring your yard chair,” and that “…Fireworks will begin at approximately 10 p.m., weather permitting.”
Chief Cash said he and his crew will begin setting up in the mini-park early Friday morning, July 2, adding that if they or their customers utilize this area as a parking area, then to please make everyone aware in advance that the parking lot will be closed for event set up.
Said Chief Cash, “Our plans are to block Main Street beginning around 2 p.m., on that Friday,” and to only block Main Street between Houser Drug
and Oak Street.”
He continued, “We wanted to make you aware of this well in advance for your planning purposes. The back alley along the railroad will be blocked near the downtown mini-park for the stage. Your customers and employees will need to utilize parking other than the mini-park on Friday, July 2. We will also utilize the parking lot beside the Cherryville Chamber of Commerce.”
Chief Cash noted that this year’s blasts will be somewhat less than those of old due to tariffs placed on the fireworks from China (some as much as 30 percent, he noted) as well as tariffs incurred due to the shutdown of traffic through the Panama Canal.
Chief Cash said, “We are looking forward to this year’s show.” He added he wants to thank everyone in advance for their cooperation, patience, and flexibility as the town prepares to host this special community event, and also to remind folks the area is a tobacco-free area all during the festival and show and that also no dogs are allowed as well.
“If anyone has any questions, please let me know by calling either (704) 435-1730, or calling my office at Cherryville City Hall at (704) 435-1711.
“Please mark your calendar and come join us as we celebrate our Independence Celebration on
Friday, July 2, 2021,” he said.
Cherryville Chamber President Mary Beth Tackett also reminded businesses and individuals, they still have the following remaining sponsorships for the Independence Day Celebration: the Main Stage Sponsorship, at $750, and General Sponsorships, at $100 apiece.
Tackett and the Chamber, as well as the city staff, have all been working hard to bring this much-loved festival back from its year-long hiatus.
She said, “We’re exceptionally excited about this year’s celebration since it is the first event that we have been able to host since COVID-19 hit us! This has become one of the best attended events in the area, and we’re excited to oblige those who always ask us to ‘make it bigger’.”
Tackett continued, “As always, we’ll have quite an assortment of music, dancing for all ages, inflatables,
face painting, and all the fun food you can eat!”
However, the caveat, she added, is that such very special events such as the Independence Day Celebration are expensive promotions.
“The City of Cherryville and the Cherryville Chamber of Commerce underwrite most of the expenses associated with these events,” said Mrs. Tackett, “but additional funds are needed. Thus, sponsorships are made available each year to help cover these overruns. So, if you’d like to get your company’s name before an estimated crowd of 10,000 or more people this year, we suggest you contact us right away to take advantage of the sponsorship opportunities.
Just call them at (704) 435-3451, or stop by the Chamber office at 220 East Main St., to promote your business.
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Cherryville Fire Department fill-in volunteer Ethan Milwood, Driver/Engineer Jacob Richardson, and Capt. Kurt Black with three of the five Stryker Lifepak 1000 defibrillator units the department was able to purchase, thanks to a generous anonymous donation. (photo provided)

Generous donation helps CFD purchase five Stryker defibrillator units

AC Wofford: Cost of the defib units
was $11,114.79


The Cherryville Fire Department was recently the recipient of a generous anonymous donation to purchase small, Lifepak 1000 heart defibrillators for use on their units.
Assistant Fire Chief Jason Wofford said the donor, who wishes to remain anonymous, noted via email that the defib units cost $11,114.79, to be precise.
“Five of the Lifepak 1000 units were purchased to replace five of the six we currently had,” said AC Wofford, adding, “To minimize cost we only replaced five units and these five are sufficient for our apparatus.”
AC Wofford said the bright yellow units purchased are the Stryker brand and they are compatible with what the Paramedics use for Gaston Emergency Medical Services and are the same as those currently in use all over Gaston County.
As for who all on the CFD staff knows how to use the units, he also noted, “All of our fulltime staff are trained and more than half our volunteer staff, who are certified EMT’s, are trained to use this equipment.”
Regarding other material or equipment the department is still in need of AC Wofford said, “Fortunately, over the past couple years we have replaced all needed equipment. We will always have the yearly replacement of turnout gear and various hoses and appliances. This is always absorbed within budget.”
City Manager and Fire Chief Jeff Cash said of the donated defibs, “We are extremely grateful for this unexpected donation. This was a grave concern of the department to replace our defibrillation units as they were obsolete and could not be repaired if they were to become inoperable. The fire department has done an excellent job to keep equipment in good working condition, but we never know when brands will discontinue certain items, lending them to become obsolete.”
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The interior of the Cherryville Area Ministries store looks much brighter thanks to new lighting and a new ceiling. (photos by MEP/The Eagle/CF Media)

Cherryville Area Ministries has
new lighting, ceiling tiles installed

Director Curry said the total cost for the work was $42,354.14


Things look brighter these days inside of Cherryville Area Ministries as a result of generous giving and donations that helped get new lighting fixtures and ceiling work done.
The reason for the work needing to be done had to do with their ceiling collapsing due to water damage from water getting between the roof and the ceiling.
Simply put, the work “had to get done,” said Ministries Director Sherry Curry, who added that through a very generous $15,000 grant from the Carrie E. and Lena V. Glenn Foundation, along with a $5,000 indoor grant CAM applied for through the City of Cherryville’s Chamber of Commerce, the work did indeed get done.
That job took from April 12, 2021, when they closed for work to begin, until May 7, 2021, when it was completed so the store could open back up on May 10.
Said Ms. Curry, “We applied for the indoor grant through the City of Cherryville Chamber of Commerce and were approved for $5,000 to go to this project, and the rest of the money needed to get the project completed was given to us through churches, individuals and businesses.”
Curry noted the total cost for the construction and lighting installations was $ 42,354.14.
As for the grant. Curry noted, “We applied for the grant back before COVID hit and were approved during COVID, making it harder for us to meet the deadline to have the project done. We usually are able to get projects done through our regular
monetary contributions from the community, our fundraisers and the store sales. However, due to COVID we did not have our yearly fundraisers and our store was shut down for three months due to COVID.”
She continued, “When we opened back up, we had to follow the CDC guidelines for everyone’s safety, causing our customer base to be low and the store sales to not be nearly as high as they used to be. The Board of Directors spoke at churches and sent out letters letting people know we were ready to do the project and had to meet a deadline. We contacted the Glen Foundation and we did get an extension for June, which was a great help.”
Curry said through all the community support and after a long four weeks, they were able to meet the deadline of the grant and complete the ceiling and lighting project.
Curry said the Board, and she and her fellow CAM workers, staff, and volunteers wanted to say a huge “Thank You”, which she stressed “…needs to go out to our community, the Glen Foundation, the City of Cherryville, Bradshaw Flooring and Acoustical, Inc., and Wise Electric for all their hard work helping us get this project completed in a timely manner.”
Curry also wanted to thank her fellow employees and staff and volunteers for all the hard work and patience they had while everything was going on to get the work done and get ready to open things back up.
Sherry said the general consensus on the ceiling and lighting project is that everyone is pleased with it.
“It is a project that was much needed,” she said. As for the work environment being brighter, store manager Barbara Decker said, “With this recent project and past renovations, the store has become a more enjoyable and welcoming place to shop.”
In addition to Ms. Curry and Decker, other CAM employees are Dale “Sgt. Dale” Towns, who has been with CAM, he said, for more than 10 years; Lisa Hill; Erlene Howard; Diane Beebe; Jenny Smith; and Liz Guiton.

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Seniors earn top academic, perfect attendance distinctions

(From Gaston County Schools: 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.)

GASTONIA – In a media release from the Gaston County Schools’ communication office, it is noted that Gaston County Schools had 22 students in the Class of 2021 who achieved the top academic distinction of valedictorian or salutatorian. Additionally, one senior in the Class of 2021 has earned the distinction of 13 years of perfect attendance.
“We are very proud to recognize 22 graduating seniors in the Class of 2021 as our valedictorians and salutatorians for Gaston County Schools,” said Superintendent of Schools W. Jeffrey Booker.  “These outstanding students have maintained an impressive academic record during their high school career. They also have been excellent leaders and role models at school and in the community. We are extremely confident that these high-achieving students will continue to be successful in everything they choose to do.”
For Cherryville High School, the Valedictorian was Chase Dylan McNeill. His college plans are to attend UNC – Chapel Hill to major in history, and he plans to pursue a law degree.
His accolades are: Gaston County Schools/Gaston Gazette Star Student; Dwight H. Harrelson Memorial Scholarship; and Cherryville High School Male Scholastic Athlete of the Year.
The Salutatorian was Noah Richard Abernethy. His college plans are to attend UNC – Chapel Hill to major in business with plans to pursue a career in a business-related field.
His accolades are: the Albert G. Myers Scholarship, Cherryville High School Academic Booster Club Scholarship, and the Alaina Abernathy Memorial Scholarship.
The valedictorians and salutatorians for the remaining 10 high schools are as follows:
Ashbrook High School – Valedictorian: Asma Patel; Salutatorian: Rachel Lowry.
Bessemer City High School – Valedictorian: Sophia Jewel Foster. Salutatorian: Aleczandria Grace Stinnett.
Stuart W. Cramer High School – Valedictorian:  Margaret Kimbirl. Salutatorian: Layton Miller.  
East Gaston High School – Valedictorian: Caleb Stephen Burr. Salutatorian: Bianca Azra Rushing.
Forestview High School – Valedictorian: Sophie Annice Martin. Salutatorian: Joshua Abraham Gluck.
Gaston Early College High School – Valedictorian:  Genevieve Roberta Starr. Salutatorian: Kenneth Khai Nguyen.
Highland School of Technology – Valedictorian:  Madelyn Grace Van Meter. Salutatorian: Ann McKinney Russell.
 Hunter Huss High School – Valedictorian:  Ailysa Lee. Salutatorian: Laurynn Thomas.          
North Gaston High School – Valedictorian:  Kaitlyn Covey Bice. Salutatorian: Georgia Olivia Queen.
South Point High School – Valedictorian: Sydney Lester. Salutatorian: Grace Nehring.
Perfect Attendance Information
Each year, the Board of Education honors graduating seniors who achieve perfect attendance for either 12 years or 13 years. One senior in the Gaston County Schools Class of 2021 earned 13 years of perfect attendance for her entire school career (kindergarten through 12th grade).
Payton Danielle Love of Ashbrook High School achieved 13 years of perfect attendance. She plans to attend North Carolina A&T State University to major in nursing. She received a perfect attendance plaque from the Gaston County Board of Education in recognition of her outstanding accomplishment.
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Some of the Cherryville Police Department staff and crew who serve and protect the citizens of Cherryville on a daily basis. From left to right are: Lt. Brandon Parker, Capt. Brian Doolittle, Sgt. Wesley Bennett, Officer Vince Burleson, Officer Jason Parton, Dispatcher Maddie Freeman, Chief Cam Jenks, Officer Sable Cranford, Officer Derek Thom, and Det. Lt. Mark Stout. (photo by MEP/The Eagle/CF Media)

Cherryville Main Street hosts CPD Mini Park ‘Meet & Greet’

Community gets a chance to talk with and thank those men and women who daily serve and protect them


The Cherryville Police Appreciation Day to Honor CPD, sponsored by the Cherryville Main Street Program, was held on Thursday, May 20, at the Cherryville Mini Park.
Police Chief Cam Jenks and other CPD officers and staff were on hand to ‘Meet and Greet’ citizens from 4 to 6 p.m. They had some small prizes and gifts with them as well to hand out to the kids.
One of those prizes was a booklet titles, “Connecting the Pieces to Stop the Violence”, which is a 32-page booklet dealing with such timely issues for youth today such as conflict and its resolution, anger issues, bullying, self-esteem, ‘sexting’, dating violence, stalking, gangs, hate crimes, suicide, and weapons in school.
In a previous media release, it was noted the event was held so “Cherryville citizens, young and old,” could come by and “get to know and thank Cherryville police
Chief Cam Jenks and several CPD officers at a Meet and Greet in the Mini Park.”
Downtown Director David Day noted also in the release that, “The event (commemorated) Cherryville Police Appreciation Day as part of the nationwide celebrations in May honoring law enforcement officers.”
“Our police officers put it all on the line every day for our citizens,” said City Manager Jeff Cash. “This is a chance to drop by and say thank you.”
Mr. Cash continued, “And, we want to always keep a close bond between our officers and our citizens. This is a great way to do it.”
Mr. Day was equally enthusiastic, and said, “We’re encouraging and hosting this as a chance to ‘Meet Your Officers.’”
Police Chief Cam Jenks, who said earlier that he and his officers and staff were “…really looking forward to visiting with familiar faces and meeting new members of the community” that they serve noted they had a good-sized crowd and that the ‘Meet & Greet’ went well.
Chief Jenks also added for those who would like a copy of the previously mentioned booklet, to call the CCPD office at (704) 435-1717 and ask how to get a copy.
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At the May 20, naming of the Cherryville ABC Store building for the late Terry Fisher, are his close friend, Mayor H.L. Beam, III; Terry’s daughter, Rebecca and her daughter (in front of her mom, Rebecca), Thea; Terry’s wife, Janet; Terry’s other granddaughter, Megan Batchler, Megan’s mother and Terry’s daughter, Carol Atkins; and Terry’s sister, Debbie Peeler. (photos by MEP/The Eagle/CF Media)

City names ABC Store in memory of Terry R. Fisher

Cherryville icon ardent proponent in getting ABC store built


Cherryville’s ABC Board building and store was officially named in honor and memory of its first store manager, the late Terry R. Fisher, on Thursday, May 20, in a well-attended ceremony.
City Council members, Mayor H.L. Beam, III, and City staff, along with current ABC store General Manager and Gaston County Commissioner, Allen R. Fraley, members of the ABC Board and the
Cherryville Little Theater, all joined with members of Mr. Fisher’s family for the emotional event.
Mayor Beam, who noted he spent many years with “Fish”, as he was affectionately known by his friends, recited many humorous anecdotes about the man who was a Cherryville icon and an ardent proponent for getting the ABC building built in Cherryville.
“I loved 'Fish’,” said Mayor Beam. “He was one of the smartest men you ever knew. I learned early on you didn’t play Trivial Pursuit with him!” Beam mentioned that Terry was a U.S. Navy veteran, and how the two of them connected  back up at college. He also recounted how Terry, who was on the Board of the Cherryville Little Theater, talked him into not only getting involved with the theater, but into taking on a role in one of its early plays.
“One of Terry’s favorite sayings was (when talking about things that were – or should be – obvious), 'Well, H.L., everybody knows that!'” said Beam. Mayor Beam read a resolution of dedication to the crowd, then presented a copy to Terry’s widow, Janet Fisher, and a copy also to Commissioner Fraley.
In brief, the dedication noted how Fisher was instrumental in getting voter sing-up sheets to call for a referendum for alcohol sales in Cherryville; how he served as the store’s first manager from May 18, 1982 until his retirement on Dec. 31, 2014, whereupon he took the position of Budget and Finance Manager of the ABC store on Feb. 1, 2015 until his untimely death in February 2020.
As Mayor Beam read, he brought out that, in addition to all that he did for the ABC store, he served in his church, the Cherryville Chamber of Commerce and The Cherryville Little Theater “for many years,” serving with “…dedication and involvement” to make the store as profitable as it is today.
“He generously gave of his time to assist others,” said Beam.
It was noted also that Councilman Malcolm Parker originally submitted the request to name the ABC building after Mr. Fisher.
ABC Board Chairman James R. Beam and Board members Tim Moss, Gail Jenkins, and Commissioner Fraley were present, and Mr. James R. Beam noted that in September 2020 the Board voted to name the building. Mr. Beam read a letter from Miles Davis, the NC ABC President which noted how Terry will be remembered for his hard work and kindness.
Janet Fisher talked about the wonderful memories she had with Terry, noting that she and his children, Carol Atkins and Becca Fisher, as well as the grandchildren, Megan Batchler and Thea Teague, miss him still.
“I have great memories of him. We appreciate this so much!” she said. Terry’s sister, Debbie Peeler was there as well, and was glad to see the naming of the ABC store in his memory come to pass.
Commissioner Allen Fraley spoke, saying, “I want to thank the City Council and the ABC Board for this. It was a well deserved honor to do this. From all of us here, all the employees, there is not a day that goes by that we don’t think of him. Terry trained me and he became a friend.”
Former City Councilman Ron Hovis noted of his late friend, “You know, Terry trained for four months to learn this system, and he took no pay for it whatsoever.”
ABC Board member Tim Moss presented a $25,000 check to Mayor Beam on behalf of the ABC Board, then said of his late friend and fellow worker at Houser Drug, “All of us here have fond memories of 'Fish’.”
Moss also noted that the ABC Board has, to date (from Sept. 14, 1982 until now) given a total of $937,486.36 to the City of Cherryville as their part of the profits from the store’s sales.
“This store,” said Moss, “has raised a lot of money for the betterment of this community. It’s like Terry said once, 'This ABC store is not here to bring liquor into the city’ but to help control what comes in and is sold. 'ABC’ stands for Alcohol Being Controlled.”
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Former Cherryville Mayor Robert D. “Bob” Austell, who served five terms, or 10 years, as mayor of Cherryville, was presented with the prestigious Order of the Long Leaf Pine at the start of the May 10 regular City Council meeting. With him for the presentation is his wife, Caryl Beam Austell. (photos by MEP/The Eagle/CF Media)

Council honors former mayor;
sets date for proposed budget hearing

Names historical museum building for long-time volunteer, tireless worker, Mrs. Barbara Yount “Bobbie” Rudisill


At their Monday, May 10 regular session, Cherryville City Council honored former Mayor Robert D. “Bob” Austell; issued proclamations for National Poppy Day and National Police Memorial Week; and approved a date (June 14, 2021) for a public hearing on the proposed 2021-2022 City budget.
Robert D. “Bob” Austell, who served five terms, or 10 years, as mayor of Cherryville (2004 to 2014), was presented with the prestigious Order of the Long Leaf Pine at the start of the meeting. Mr. Austell had many family members and friends present who arrived early for a brief get-together prior to his being given the award.
“Bob is my mentor,” Mayor H.L. Beam, III, said of the former mayor at the reception before the Award’s actual presentation. “We are very proud of Bob, and are very honored he has been chosen for this Award.”
Mayor Beam referenced four letters written to nominate Mr. Austell, and then talked about what august company the former mayor was in, in reference to the Long Leaf Pine Award, citing such names as Michael Jordan, Andy Griffith, the Rev. Billy Graham, and a host of others. The letters were written by Mayor Beam, City Manager and Fire Chief Jeff Cash, Certified Municipal City Clerk Paige H. Green, and former EDC Director Richard Randall, who is now
the Existing Industry Manager for the Gaston County Economic Development Commission.
“The awards started in 1964 after being established in 1963,” said Mayor Beam. “We sent the letters to the state in November 2020, and are happy to be presenting this to him today.”
With Mr. Austell was his wife, Caryl and daughters, Teesie Smith, Elizabeth Shuford, and Kim Crane. Their daughter, Amy, who lives in Texas, was unable to get in for the presentation.
Next up for the Council was the National Poppy Day proclamation, read by City Councilwoman Jill Parker-Puett, who is also with the American Legion Auxiliary Unit 100. The proclamation designates May 28, as National Poppy Day to honor America’s fallen military men and women. Mrs. Puett presented the proclamation to the members and representatives, young and old alike, who came to the meeting. They were: Nancy Rudisill; Jean Skibo; Debbie Harris; Jill Puett; Monica Lockwood; Tammy Snider; Irene White; Claire Harris – Aux. President; and Lynette Christensen.
The next proclamation Mayor Beam read was for National Police Memorial Week, which was accepted on behalf of the Cherryville Police Department by Lt. Brandon Parker. It proclaims the week of May 9 through the 15, as the memorial week for the police.
After hearing there were no citizens to be heard either in-person or by call-in, Council moved on to hearing from Planning and Zoning Board Director, Derrick Mackey, about the proposed rezoning of four parcels at or near 1444 W. Academy St., in Cherryville, for possible apartment units. They then voted to go into a public hearing on the matter.
Planning and Zoning Board Director Mackey said the request from their Board was for Council to approve the zoning change from MC and R-9 to RMF (residential multi-family) zoning, which was submitted by Mr. Denis Blackburne, Senior Vice President of Development for Woda Companies, of Savannah, Georgia. Mr. Blackburn was present at the meeting in case Council members had any questions for him.
Mr. Mackey noted the Cherryville P&Z Board voted 6-1 to rezone the parcels.
After discussing the issue and going out of public meeting, Council approved the zoning, saying it was consistent with the City’s Land Use Plan, which was adopted August 2012, and that the proposed rezoning’s are reasonable and are in the public interest.
Also discussed was the City’s golf cart ordinance with its new language and amendments, which was adopted Feb. 23, 2021, and became effective on that date. Mayor Beam noted the one change is that language that notes, “Golf carts are prohibited from towing or pulling any items behind them while in operation on any roadway.”
The Council also approved and adopted, by vote, a resolution to set aside funds for future roof replacement costs for the Cherryville ABC store. These costs are estimated to exceed $40,000.
The Council also considered and voted on a resolution to reimburse itself for early project expenditures from the proceeds of the voter-approved bonds, as well as considering and voting on aa resolution regarding capital projects for the downtown water and sewer bonds.
The Council also considered and voted on setting a date for a public hearing on the proposed 2021-2022 budget as well as hearing other business; namely considering and voting on renaming the Cherryville Historical Museum after the late Mrs. Barbara “Bobbie” Yount Rudisill, who has spent countless hours giving of her time, efforts, and selfless service on behalf of the museum.
In his application for naming or renaming public buildings, Councilman Parker noted that the late Mrs. Rudisill, “…has spent countless hours working at the museum and has contributed so much to Cherryville, with her time and service.” The proposed name of the facility/memorial is to be the “Barbara Yount Rudisill Memorial Building, home of the Cherryville Historical Museum.” The naming of the building was approved by all on the Council.
In closing out the meeting, City Manager Cash said he expects the selling of the bonds to “close in June”, adding that the City has a “AA minus” Standard & Poore rating. Mr. Cash also said, in answer to a question from Council about the upcoming Fourth Festival that the City will have it on July 2, from 6 to 10 p.m. He noted the festival is “a go”, and said the band will be “Too Much Sylvia”.
The next Council session will be their work session of May 25, at the Cherryville Fire Department, starting at 5:30 p.m.
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Local volunteers came together on May Day, May 1, to plant colorful petunias along Main Street to bring home the point that Cherryville really is “Where Life Blossoms!” (photo provided)

Volunteers make Cherryville’s Main Street blossom on May 1

Two thousand petunias to sprout this spring and summer


Cherryville’s Downtown Director David Day, said recently in a media release, with the planting of 2,000 colorful petunias, the City’s Main Street area “…is looking brighter.”
And it absolutely is as on May Day, Saturday, May 1, more than 20 local volunteers began planting the first of 2,000 pink or white petunias which will beautify Main Street and nearby areas this spring and summer. Rounding out the effort, the Heritage Park will also bloom with spring and summer color, noted Mr. Day.
He continued, “These flowers are going to be gorgeous. This is our first of what we hope will be many spring plantings. Our City’s slogan is 'Where Life Blossoms’ and we’re adding life to it!”
While Day clarified the Main Street Project group is focusing this year on what he termed, “ground-level planting,” next year, said Day, “After the new streetscape is in, we’ll also add hanging baskets and planters,” adding that the flowers now planted “…will bloom until the construction on the planned new streetscape begins in the early fall.”
According to Steve Panton, part-time marketing director for the city, “These particular petunias were chosen because they are so hardy and need very little pruning. Also, cities across the country with climates similar to ours often plant this variety.”
Day noted one of the keys to making this year’s planting so successful was the effort from so many Cherryville citizens and merchants.
“Our volunteers were great,” he said.
David cited the role played by Upchurch’s Nursey, which grew the flowers from seeds, by noting, “These flowers are all literally homegrown. They cost us significantly less than if we had imported them from a supplier.”
Chairperson of the Main Street program Donna Beringer was one of the many volunteers planting the flowers. She was equally enthusiastic about the planting of the flowers.
“This a great day for our community,” said Beringer, who also added, “We’re focused on making downtown Cherryville a destination. Having gorgeous flowers is just part of the magic we hope to create.”
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An artist’s rendering of the pre-launch Two Kings Casino and Resort facility provides a glimpse at what the Catawba Nation hopes to have up and running by summer 2021. (rendering provided)

Catawbas plan pre-launch
summer opening for Casino

Federal judge rejects Cherokee’s lawsuit, paving way for casino to move forward


In a recent media release to Community First Media, the Catawba Nation announced it plans to fast-track the summer 2021 opening of the Catawba Two Kings Casino Resort project in Kings Mountain.
Calling the opening a “pre-launch”, their plan calls for the facility to have 500 slot machines.
On April 16, the Catawba Nation received more good news when a federal ruling favored the U.S. Department of the Interior’s action in taking land into trust for the Catawba Nation, rejecting a lawsuit by the Eastern Band of the Cherokee.
That decision was given last week by U.S. District Court Judge  James  E.  Boasberg in a 50-plus page opinion sent out to the media from the Catawba Nation.
Judge Boasberg concluded, as per the media release, that the Department of the Interior “…did not violate the Settlement Act or INGRA (Indian Gaming Regulatory Act)” when it took the Kings Mountain land parcel into trust.
In response to the action, Catawba Chief William “Bill” Harris said, in part, “This is the right decision and the one we anticipated from the court to reject the litigation of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.”
As for the pre-launch facility, it will be constructed using prefabricated modular structures, and will provide an initial opportunity for patrons to game with limited food and beverages and other guest amenities.
In an earlier CF Media article, Chief Harris said, “With the completion of our compact with the State of North Carolina, the Catawba Nation is eager to open the casino as quickly as possible to begin bringing economic benefits and jobs to the state and region.”
The Catawba are working with consultants Delaware North, as well as developer Skyboat Gaming, on the summer ‘pre-launch’ facility.
The 17-acre casino site is off Dixon School Rd., in Kings Mountain, and is near Interstate 85 and about 35 miles west of Charlotte.
The total $273 million casino resort project is expected to create 2,600 permanent jobs at full buildout and thousands of construction jobs in the region.
Cleveland County Commis-sioner Johnny Hutchins said, “This project will prove to be a long-lasting and sustainable economic engine for the residents of Cleveland County.”
The Catawba can now conduct Class III gaming, including operating slot machines and table games.
Earlier this year, the Catawba Compact was approved by Gov. Roy Cooper, as well as N.C. Secretary of State Elaine Marshall and Attorney General Josh Stein.
These and other actions, noted Chief Harris, recognize the Catawba Nation’s historical and ancestral ties to its aboriginal lands throughout North Carolina. Also, the compact with the state acknowledges their connection to North Carolina as well.
In addition to creating revenue for the state, it is to be noted the casino will help support an education fund that will benefit environmental conservation, provide educational support for members of federal and state-recognized tribes, support local communities on economic development initiatives and foster employment opportunities on or near Catawba lands.
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This Cherryville Family YMCA group photo of some of the 2017 5K Run/Walk contestants shows what a diverse group dedicated runners can be. Young and old alike can get involved, get healthy and have some fun! Standing at the top left is Mr. Andy Inman, 53, whose finish time of 19 minutes; 11 seconds put him at the top of the 5K runners. (photo provided)

Cherryville Family Y’s 5K Run/Walk to be held May 10

Organization also offering new members new deals for month of May


There is a lot going on right now at the Cherryville Family YMCA and being able to stay open longer is only a minor part of what all they have coming up, according to Administrative Coordinator Butch Boyd.
Boyd said that, in spite of there not being a Cherry Blossom Festival being held this year, their Cherry Blossom 5K Race and One Mile Walk will still be held, albeit on May 10, starting at 10 a.m.
Additionally, Boyd said, “We are offering a “New January” membership promo, which is kicking off in May.”
He continued, “The gist here is that usually January is our largest new member registration and since this past January was not what we were hoping for thanks to COVID restrictions, we are going to offer the same thing in May. So, starting May 1, through 15, there will be no joining fee and the month of June will be free for anyone joining from May 1-15.”
The joining fee, he noted is $50, and they will prorate the rest of the month of May.
“The fee could be less, depending on the number of days left in the month at the  time you join,” he added.
Boyd said they currently have about 800 members, which is a bit low for them, again due to the situations dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. “But,” said Boyd, “it’s (the membership) is coming back. It is still mostly seniors but we’re reaching out more to a younger group as well.”
Boyd also stressed the fact that not more than two months ago they got all new equipment at the Cherryville Family Y, a fact of which they are very proud.
As for the 5K race, Boyd said, “We are going ahead with our Miles That Matter Cherry Blossom 5K Run/Walk even though the City is not going to do the (Cherry Blossom) Festival. This is on Saturday, May 10.”
The race is scheduled to be held again at First Presbyterian Church, 107 W. Academy St., Cherryville.
The Cherryville Family YMCA also has new hours – 6 a.m., to 7 p.m., and they are not closing during the day any longer, noted Mr. Boyd.
In other Cherryville Y news, Boyd said Summer Camp is back at the Y, but added they will bus the kids to the Warlick facility and bring them back after the day is over.
“They have more facilities there for the kids than we do here at our location. Give us a call at the Cherryville Y for more info on the Summer Camp,” he said.
Boyd said they have a new class at the Y on Tuesdays and Thursday’s; a kickboxing class taught and led by Mrs. Kim Beam. Boyd still teaches the Y’s Silver Sneakers class on Monday’s and Wednesday’s; the second Tuesday of each month is their Senior’s Happier Hour, from 10:30 a.m., until noon, and they still have Boot Camp, led by Myra at 5:30 p.m., on Monday’s and Wednesday’s.
Also, there is some, as Boyd put it, “…big, BIG news on our immediate horizon. I can’t say much just yet, but we’ll be getting that out to everyone as soon as we can!” he noted.
For fees and pricing on the Y’s Cherry Blossom 5K, Boyd said to call them at (704) 445-9622; by emailing Boyd at; or just stop by the Y on Main St., in downtown Cherryville and speak with either Mr. Boyd, Mrs. Sandy Armstrong, or any one of the helpful YMCA staff there for more information and to get a race/walk flier.
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Professional Municipal Clerk Paige H. Green was recognized at the Monday, April 12, Cherryville City Council meeting by Mayor H.L. Beam, III and the Council members with a proclamation recognizing her for her work for the City and recognizing the week of May 2 through May 8, as Professional Municipal Clerk’s Week. (photo by MEP/the Eagle/CF Media)

2021-2022 budget draft proposal handed out at April 12 Council session 

Cherryville staff and employees Green; Sigmon recognized by Council for their hard work


The Cherryville City Council met last Monday night, April 12, at the Cherryville Fire Department, recognizing two employees; one for longevity of service to the City and the other with a proclamation, as well as taking care of items previously discussed at its March work session.
Mayor H.L. Beam, III spoke briefly during his “Mayor’s Comments” section talking about the American Recovery (or Rescue) Act that was passed by Congress in which Cherryville could possibly receive as much as $1.78 million to help with various infrastructure issues. The amount, he noted, would be broken up into two parcels of money; $890,000 given sometime this year, and the second $890,000 given out next year.
“This money will require us to report our usage of it as well as audits and such,” Mayor Beam said, adding that some of the items the money cannot be used for include roads, debt cancellations, and retirement. The money, if we can get it, will go to water and sewer, storm water issues, COVID salary replacement, and other issues covered in the ARA.
According to the web site,, in in part reads that in the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA), “The United States has provided about $6 trillion in total economic relief to the American people during the coronavirus pandemic, including the $1.9 trillion that was approved when President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) into law (in March), amounting to about 27 percent of gross domestic product (GDP).
“Much of the economic relief in the American Rescue Plan is administered through the tax code in the form of direct payments (stimulus checks) and expanded Child Tax Credit (CTC) in 2021.”
Council recognized City Public works employee Teddy Sigmon for his five years of service to the City of Cherryville. He received a certificate from Mayor H.L. Beam, III.
Also, Professional Municipal Clerk Paige H. Green was recognized later in the meeting by Mayor Beam and the Council with a proclamation recognizing the week of May 2 through May 8, as Professional Municipal Clerk’s Week.
Said Mayor Beam as he read from the proclamation, “We further extend appreciation to our Professional Municipal Clerk, Paige H. Green and to all Professional Municipal Clerks for the vital services they perform and their exemplary dedication to the communities they represent.”
The week noted, added Mayor Beam, is the 52nd Annual Professional Municipal Clerks Week.
The first order of regular business pertained to considering a final resolution formally authorizing the sale $8.7 million in Public Improvement bonds. Representatives from the firm, Sanford Holshouser, LLP, of Carrboro, headed by attorney Bob Jessup, were present at the meeting. City Council member Jon Abernethy moved for the Council to accept the authorization of the sale of the bonds; Councilmember Jill Parker-Puett seconded the motion, and all approved it. The financial advisors for the sale are Davenport & Company, LLC, of Charlotte.
Next up on the agenda was Mr. Cash’s recommendation to Council to award the following contracts to the following contractors for downtown projects: Downtown Sewer Rehab (to CaJenn Construction & Rehabilitation Services, Inc.); Water Line Construction and Downtown Revitalization (both to Sealand Contractors Corp.). Mr. Cash referred to his letter dated March 30 to Council members and the Mayor that, “These bids have been approved by our engineering firm, Wright & Associates, as well as Frazier Engineering.”
He continued that the contractors were also recommended by City staff for Cherryville’s bond projects.
Council members moved and seconded the awards be accepted and all approved.
Council then went into a public hearing about the street closings of Webb, Wert, and a portion of Howell streets, and noting that there has been no public input after the normal legal postings of items of this nature, and after Council went out of the public hearing, Council voted on and all approved the street closings, as per NC General Statute 160A-299.
Council also approved the agreement regarding Terrace Estates subdivision/Black Rock School Road water line upgrades.
City Manager Cash again spoke to Council about the proposed City policy on the water taps for Main Street’s Revitalization plan, noting the 16 businesses whose taps will have to be relocated to behind their existing buildings. He noted it was important to incentivize the listed businesses in order to get them off of their old line and onto the new line. Mention was made of a “generous donation” by an unnamed benefactor that will greatly help this part of the program out.
“We will have a meeting May 17, at 6 p.m., at the Community Building to explain this to them,” he said.
Mr. Cash handed out a draft copy of the City’s 2021-2022 draft budget, which he said is “still a work in progress.”
In addition to there being a five percent electrical discount in it, Mr. Cash handed out a copy of the proposed draft budget’s notes detailing other General, Electric, Water/Sewer, and All Fund highlights with all changes, adjustments, requests, and increases or decreases of the City’s proposed revenues. The Council voted to take no action on the proposed draft budget. A budget meeting date of Saturday, May 1, was tentatively set.
Lastly, City Clerk, Mrs. Green, spoke to Council about the various City fee revisions, many of which stayed the same. Council voted to accept the fee schedule as written and it was unanimously approved.
After other business was transacted, the meeting was adjourned.
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Pat’s Drive-In owner and operator, Malcolm Parker, jots down a “to-go” phone order.

Pat’s Drive-In, a Cherryville icon, opens lobby back up

Booming business never really stopped; stayed steady throughout pandemic restrictions


Like many Cherryville businesses, restaurateur Malcolm Parker, owner and operator of Pat’s Drive-In, located on W. Church St./Hwy. 150, said his restaurant business never really shut down totally due to the coronavirus pandemic.
He noted they, like other restaurants in town, had to make necessary changes to adhere to Gov. Roy Cooper’s executive orders on how they could serve their clients, and how many could be in or at their establishment, but they did, and they – like other Cherryville restaurants – held
on. It was tough, but still, they held on.
And that perseverance has paid off, as Cherryville’s businesses are, for the most part anyway, bustling again.
Parker, a Cherryville City Councilman and local businessman, said he has been in the food services profession since 1993.
“I was here in Cherryville from 1993 through 1997, then I did food service for 12 years at Cleveland Community College,” he said. “I came back to town and opened back up as Pat’s, which I named after my mother.”
The current iteration of Pat’s Drive-In has six employees, which is down a couple due to the pandemic.
“Before it (the pandemic) hit, we had eight. We now are only open from 11 a.m., until 8 p.m., and we don’t do breakfast anymore,” said Malcolm, who added they might look at adding it back later.
The great news for Malcolm and his stalwart crew is that business has never been better.
Said Parker, “We’re busy all day long since we opened our dining area back up. Everybody seems to be happy with being able to sit down again and enjoy their lunch and dinner.”
The small drive-in, like many of Cherryville’s diners and restaurants, has that small-town feel and “vibe”, coupled with a no-nonsense way of making sure the customer gets their food on time and done right. There may also be a little “chit-chat” thrown in, especially if Malcolm knows you (and chances are, he does!), but for the most part, you are left pretty much alone to enjoy one of the better burgers in town, with someone coming up to you only to see if you might need a drink refill, or extra napkins, or anything else you might want, so far as food is concerned.
Malcolm said the big sellers – food-wise – haven’t changed so much as they still offer the fare for which they are well-known: hamburgers plates, cheeseburger plates, Lottaburgers, hamburger steaks, hot dogs, and the French fries and Tater Tots to go with them.
As he noted earlier in the interview, the business never really slacked off as they took to-go orders and folks came by and picked up what they wanted or needed. They also offered outside dining as well, but couldn’t wait until they were freed up to open the inside back up.
Parker, a 1969 CHS grad and former trucking industry person, was a Cherryville City Police Officer from 1977 through 1986, loves his hometown and its citizens, and has always given back one way or another, either in public service or feeding people.
Currently, Malcolm serves the public as one of four City Council members, as the Ward 4 Councilman. He has served now for 12 years.
As for getting to open the inside back up, Malcolm said, “We did that the first day of March,” he said. “The Lord’s been good to us, and thanks to good food, good word-of-mouth, and our very loyal customers, we’ve done all right.”
The restaurant is closed on Saturday and Sunday. To call them about their menu or to place an order, call (704) 435-8833.
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Looking down on the Cherryville Fire Department’s large bay showing it full of all those who came by on Saturday, March 27, to get their second and final dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. (photo by Ryan Gunter)

CFD’s follow-up Moderna vaccine event goes well

This was the second dose for those who
received their first on Feb. 27


Cherryville City Manager and Fire Chief Jeff Cash said the department’s hosting of the administration of the second shot of the two-injection Moderna vaccine went well.
Chief Cash said, “This was the second shot of Moderna for the people who received their first dose at the clinic held on Feb. 27. We provided the facility and volunteers. The vaccines were provided by Kintegra Health. Our contact with Kintegra is Mrs. Reva Holland.”
As far as the numbers of those who came to get their second and final Moderna vaccine dose, Chief Cash noted, “We administered approximately 440 vaccinations,” adding “…there were a handful of no-shows.”
As with the previous vaccine event sponsored by Cherryville and CFD, he noted they had, “…Fire Department staff, Police Department staff, (and) Main Street staff (working the event and helping out). We provided approximately 15 volunteers.”
He continued, “Kintegra said that the operations flowed well and were very well organized.”
Cherryville Police Chief Cam Jenks, whose senior officers, patrol officers, and staff helped out as well at both events, making sure traffic flow was steady and all vehicles moved in and out safely, agreed with Chief Cash, adding, “For our part, it all went well.”
So far as plans are concerned to keep having these either at the CFD going forward and as things open up for the rest of the general population to be vaccinated, Chief Cash had this to say.
“We are scheduled on Friday, April 9, to do the second dose for those who received their shot on March 12. At this point, there are no plans in place for future vaccination clinics to be held at CFD; however, we will know more in late April. To date, around 1,200 vaccinations have been provided here at CFD.”
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Last Saturday, March 26, a group of family members, friends, and church members met at Cherryville’s First United Methodist Church to honor the memory of the late Miles Gantt as a food pantry was dedicated and blessed in his memory. The pantry’s idea was the brainchild of Cherryville businessman and builder, Jody Fowler, to honor his great uncle, Miles. Present, in addition to Mr. Fowler, his wife, Sarah, and children, Will and Keenan, were the following: Louie and Joan Fowler; Jerry Gantt, Lisa Gantt, Ansley Julian, Addi Julian, and Avery Julian; Brenda Gantt; Heath and Allison Fowler and Drew and Jackson Fowler; Brent and Teresa Gardo; Billy and Barbara Crews; Richard and Kay Beam; Gail Jenkins; the Rev. Zack Christie; and Pete Craft. (photo by MEP/The Eagle/CF Media)

Community Food Pantry honors memory of late Miles Gantt

Businessman Jody Fowler creates unique way to give back to community


Cherryville native, businessman and builder Jody Fowler has recently come up with a unique way to honor the memory of his beloved great uncle, Miles Gantt, who he said “sparked (his) passion for construction.”
Fowler had originally approached the Cherryville City Council a while back with the idea to honor the late Mr. Gantt’s memory by the construction and placement of a community food pantry box, an idea which Mr. Fowler said he had seen in a few other towns and communities as he went about his business as a builder.
City Manager Jeff Cash said they were unable to allow the pantry to be placed in the Heritage Park, as originally requested by Mr. Fowler, because of issues with the City’s insurance carriers.
“We asked them and they explained to us it was an extremely high liability issue for us,” he said recently by phone.
At a Saturday, March 26, dedication of the new “Miles Gantt Community Food Pantry”, Jody addressed a crowd of family, friends, and church members at Cherryville’s First United Methodist Church, and said, “The Lord laid this idea on my heart, and though I had to put it off for one reason or another, I still kept coming back to it.”
Fowler said his beloved uncle, who he fondly remembered as teaching him about the construction trade, was the one who started him out in it all.
In a letter he originally sent to the City Council as he brought the project before them for consideration, he mentioned that, “At somewhere around the age of 12 he (Miles) would let me work with him for reasons I only now can understand.”
He continued, “One of the things he made me do was straighten out every nail that he either pulled out of an old piece of lumber or was bent. Miles grew up during the depression and didn’t waste anything. He always knew that everything had a purpose and could be repurposed at a later time. I certainly inherited that trait from him because I don’t throw anyway anything, especially if it is in anyway related to construction.”
To that end, said Fowler to the crowd the pantry was built with 100 percent recycled material.
Said Fowler, in his letter, “All the exterior wood, tin roof, post, latches, nails and screws have either come from barns I’ve torn down, houses I’ve remodeled or picked up off of job sites. I thought to myself as I was nearing completion of the pantry, how fitting it was that it was all recycled material and how proud he would be that it was repurposed.”
Fowler said he felt the City needed a community food outreach project that could be “easily accessible to those in need.”
When he originally spoke with City Manager Jeff Cash, Mr. Cash had mentioned that a good place for it may be somewhere around the Heritage Park uptown, so that got Jody’s creative mind spinning, as he said.
“I tried my best to create something that would blend with that setting as much as possible,” he noted in his letter.
Sadly, Miles passed away some weeks ago at the age of 97, but is remembered by all as a very generous person, from, noted Mr. Fowler, “…the huge gardens he grew every year (giving 90 percent of it away) to his church that he was so involved in. ”
Fowler also noted in his letter to Council that <r. Gantt was a builder and built the majority of the houses in Cherryville back in his day.
Fowler continued, “Back in his day, builders (now called contractors) actually built the majority of the houses themselves versus subcontracting everything out. He knew a little bit about everything and took pride in what he did.”
Fowler told the crowd the idea is for folks to come and take what they need from the food pantry, which only has dry, boxed foods or canned goods, and be blessed. For those who have and can do so, he said they are welcome also to leave food for others, so long as it is the dry, non-perishable boxed foods and/or canned goods, that  are in date and not expired.
Said Mr. Fowler, “We are hoping the community will support this. I want to especially thank his family for letting me name this after Miles, because he meant a lot to me.”
As for its size, Jody noted he built the pantry four time bigger than others he has seen, to commemorate Miles who “…always had a big garden!”
Son, Jerry; daughter, Brenda; and granddaughter, Teresa said that it was an honor for them to see his legacy live on through something that would continue to give to the community for years to come.
The Rev. Zack Christy, pastor of First Methodist Church of Cherryville prayed over the pantry and blessed it. Rev. Christy also noted that Christ asked His followers, when it came to doing His work here on earth, “Where were you when I was hungry?”

 Catawba Nation to fast-track casino opening this summer with 500-slot  ‘pre-launch’ facility
at Kings Mountain site 

​​​​​Faster opening of Catawba Two Kings Casino Resort will accelerate job creation for region 

KINGS MOUNTAIN, N.C. – The Catawba Nation today announced it will fast-track the opening of the Catawba Two Kings Casino Resort project in Kings Mountain by opening a “pre-launch” facility this summer with 500 slot machines.
The pre-launch facility, which will be constructed using prefabricated modular structures, will provide an initial opportunity for patrons to game with limited food & beverage and other guest amenities.
“With the completion of our compact with the State of North Carolina, the Catawba Nation is eager to open the casino as quickly as possible to begin bringing economic benefits and jobs to the state and region,” Catawba Chief Bill Harris said. “We’re working with Delaware North, our consultant on the Catawba Two Kings Casino Resort project, as well as our developer, Skyboat Gaming, to make that happen by opening what we are calling a ‘pre-launch’ facility this summer.”
An introductory phase of the full casino is still planned and will feature an additional 1,300 slot machines. It will be a permanent structure that will become part of the full casino. Its construction is expected to take about a year.
“It makes sense to have the temporary pre-launch facility to start, and it will continue to operate during the construction of the introductory phase and possibly subsequent phases,” said Brian Hansberry, president of Delaware North’s gaming business. “It gives us a place to teach incoming staff and accommodates people in the region who are anxious to start gaming this summer.”
The 17-acre casino site off Dixon School Road in Kings Mountain, Cleveland County, is near Interstate 85 and about 35 miles west of Charlotte. The total $273 million casino resort project is expected to create 2,600 permanent jobs at full buildout and thousands of construction jobs in the region.
“This project will prove to be a long-lasting and sustainable economic engine for the residents of Cleveland County, we are excited about the expedited timeline” said Cleveland County Commissioner Johnny Hutchins.
“Chief Harris and the members of The Catawba Indian Nation are great partners. Our team looks forward to continuing to work side by side as the project develops” said Cleveland County Manager Brian Epley.
The Catawba Nation and the State of North Carolina in January signed a compact that allows the state to share in revenues generated by the new casino, which will be operated by the Catawba. In March 2020, the U.S. Department of the Interior, following a thorough, years-long review, took the 17 acres of land into trust for the Catawba Nation. The action recognized the Catawba Nation’s historical and ancestral ties to its aboriginal lands throughout North Carolina, as evidenced by names such as Catawba County and Catawba College, as well as in the six counties, including Cleveland County, specifically identified by Congress as part of the Catawba’s service area. The state compact acknowledges this connection to North Carolina as well.
In addition to creating revenue for the State of North Carolina, the casino will help support an education fund that will benefit environmental conservation, provide educational support for members of federal and state-recognized tribes, support local communities on economic development initiatives and foster employment opportunities on or near Catawba lands.
# # #

Catawba Nation Compact with the State of North Carolina approved by U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Indian Affairs 

Compact allows Class III gaming at Catawba Two Kings Casino Resort in Kings Mountain 

KINGS MOUNTAIN, N.C. – The U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Indian Affairs has approved the Catawba Nation’s Tribal-State Compact with the State of North Carolina, allowing the state to share in revenues generated by the new Two Kings Casino Resort
The Catawba can now conduct Class III gaming, including operating slot machines and table games, at the casino being developed at a site in the City of Kings Mountain in Cleveland County, about 45 minutes from downtown Charlotte.
The approval of the compact was communicated to Catawba Chief Bill Harris in a March 19 letter from Darryl LaCounte, director of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and takes effect when the notice of the approval is published in the Federal Register. A similar letter is also being sent to North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, LaCounte’s letter noted.
“We completed our review of the Compact and conclude that it does not violate the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA), and any provision of the Federal law that does not relate to jurisdiction over gaming on Indian lands, or the trust obligations of the United States to Indians,” LaCounte wrote. “Therefore, pursuant to my delegated authority and Section 11 of IGRA, I approve the Compact.”
The Catawba Compact was approved by Gov. Cooper, as well as North Carolina Secretary of State Elaine Marshall and Attorney General Josh Stein, in mid-January, and underwent a 45-day review by the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
“This is great news for the Catawba Nation, the State of North Carolina and the Kings Mountain region, and I’d like to thank the Bureau of Indian Affairs for its work in reviewing our Compact,” Harris said. “Our focus now is developing the casino to bring economic benefits and thousands of jobs to the citizens of North Carolina.”
In March 2020, the U.S. Department of the Interior, following a thorough, years-long review, took 17 acres of land into trust status in Cleveland County, North Carolina, for the Catawba Nation. The action recognized the Catawba Nation’s historical and ancestral ties to its aboriginal lands throughout North Carolina, as evidenced by names such as Catawba County and Catawba College, as well as in the six counties, including Cleveland County, specifically identified by Congress as part of the Catawba’s service area. The compact with North Carolina acknowledges this connection to North Carolina as well.
In addition to creating revenue for the State of North Carolina, the casino will help support an education fund that will benefit environmental conservation, provide educational support for members of federal and state-recognized tribes, support local communities on economic development initiatives and foster employment opportunities on or near Catawba lands.
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Kevin Doran, CHS Principal

Doran is one of five finalists for “Principal of the Year”


Like many in his profession, CHS Principal Kevin Doran doesn’t go around seeking the spotlight or trying intentionally to be in the public eye.
However, being nominated as one of five finalists for Gaston County Principal of the Year 2021-2022 is quite an honor, and Doran is no exception when he admits he is pleased to have been nominated.
As he said via email, “I am honored to be a finalist, but there are other, much more deserving candidates. I just appreciate my peers putting me in the conversation.”
In addition to Mr. Doran, the other four nominees are Jill Payne, Hawks Nest STEAM Academy; Loretta Reed, Woodhill Elementary School; Torben Ross, Robinson Elementary School; and Tyler West, Pinewood Elementary School.
According to the Gaston County Schools’ web site, the winner “…will be revealed this spring during our 'Evening of Excellence’ program, which is being sponsored this year by Truist Bank.”
Doran, who is from Pittsburgh, PA, graduated from Mt. Lebanon High School in 1994, and is a 1999 Marshall University graduate (Education degree).
“I graduated from Gardner Webb in 2009 with a Masters in Educational Leadership.”
Kevin said he moved to Gaston County in 1999, “…right out of college to get out of the cold weather and stayed because of the community and meeting my wife. I have two daughters, Riley 10, and Ryan, 6.”
He said, “I started at Cramerton Middle School in the 1999-2000 school year,” and taught Math at Cramerton Middle School  (GCS system).
He then taught Science at Northeast Middle School (CMS system), became the Assistant Principal at Forestview High School (GCS system), then came to Cherryville High School (GCS system) as the Principal.
Said Mr. Doran, “When Dr. (W. Jeffrey) Booker placed me at CHS seven years ago, I could not have imagined how grateful I would feel today. The school, staff, students and community are second to none. This is a special place and I am blessed to be here.”
Doran and his staff have been responsible for many good things happening at CHS. Some of their CHS accomplishments include, but aren’t limited to: excellent student growth and test scores; a 95 percent graduation rate recognized by the state; major upgrades to the CHS school grounds, such as painting, landscaping, parking lot work, getting a future sign; creation of the Public Service Academy; and working hand-in-hand with the Cherryville Education Foundation. The CHSEF has raised well over $100,000 for the school and its teachers.
Doran continued, “What I am most proud of is our staff. This is a special group of people. They do so much for the students of Cherryville. They make us all look good. It is not just a job for them, it is a calling. It IS great to be from Cherryville High!”
Doran was asked that as the pandemic lessens its hold on N.C. somewhat, what does he and his staff envision for CHS, going forward?
Said Mr. Doran, “We, as a staff, have learned so much by teaching through a pandemic, but I believe that I can speak for everyone when I say that we are looking forward to a safe return to normalcy. We miss seeing all of our students in classrooms, seeing packed hallways at class change, and all the extra-curricular activities almost as much as our students.”
As he always does, Mr. Doran ended the interview with his ever-present, closing statement: “Go Ironmen!”
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Proper usage and being a responsible, licensed driver can ensure much fun and enjoyment for golf cart operators who, thanks to Cherryville’s new ordinance for the vehicle, can now drive their carts on the City streets. (photo provided)

Golf Carts now allowed to operate on City streets

Must be driven by licensed drivers; some restrictions still apply


Chief of Police Cam Jenks said that golf carts with a licensed driver are now allowed to operate on City streets with speed limits of 35mph or less. Additionally they are also allowed to cross Highways 150 and 274 at a traffic light, being careful to watch for oncoming traffic and knowing they have the right-of-way.
The City Council voted on and approved the new golf cart usage ordinance on Feb. 23, 2021 at the Council’s work session, said Chief Jenks, who presented the new ordinance.
A golf cart, by definition on the ordinance, is described as “a vehicle designed and manufactured for operation on a golf course for sporting or recreational purposes and that is not capable of exceeding speeds of 20 mph. (NC G.S. 20-4.01(12b)). The cart can be either gas or electric, noted Jenks.
On the City of Cherryville’s Facebook page on March 2. Chief Jenks noted that a public notice was placed regarding golf cart registration and the new City driving options.
It reads, “Cherryville Police Department will conduct registration and inspections at an appointed time and date for a fee of $25, which must be renewed annually. Proof of having minimum liability insurance is required at the time of registration. An inspection sticker will be issued and must be affixed to the left front windshield of the golf cart.
“Inspection stickers will be registered to the serial number on the golf cart. Failure to have a golf cart inspected will result in fines and penalties. A complete copy of all rules and regulations will be provided upon arrival.”
More information can be found, he added, by going to https://www.cityof…/showpublisheddocument.
“Actually,” said Chief Jenks, “this law has been in effect since 2009. This change to the original ordinance just allows the golf cart driver to operate the vehicle at 35mph. The law hasn’t changed but we have updated the ordinance to allow usage in more areas in our City.”
He noted that in the old ordinance the driver of the cart was restricted to their neighborhood. Also, you had to be a licensed driver, 16 or older and have insurance coverage for the golf cart.
“With the new ordinance we have lifted some of the restrictions on where you can drive them. For example, you can travel any City street that is 35 mph or less, as we said on our Facebook page. You still can’t travel on Hwy. 150 or Hwy. 274, but you can cross those highways at the traffic lights,” he said.
Chief Jenks said also the only prohibited City street however, is E. Main St., from Rudisill to Dick Beam.
Jenks noted the new ordinance allows drivers to operate their vehicles up to 11 p.m., as long as they have working headlights and tail lights.
“If they don’t have those they must cease driving their vehicles at sunset,” he said.
Chief Jenks wanted to stress that the NC golf cart laws apply only to golf carts and not to side-by-side vehicles, trail bikes, or LSV’s.
“To operate one of those vehicles, they must be licensed, titled, and tagged by the NC Dept. of Motor Vehicles just as you would a regular vehicle,” said Chief Jenks.
One of the advantages Chief Jenks sees to the changing of the new ordinance is that, once things get better with the current COVID-19 situation, he said he feels individuals might possibly be able to take their golf cart to the City’s festivals, however, he reminded folks that any and all vehicular laws still apply whenever operating a golf cart in the City, up to and including the cart operator must yield to all vehicular traffic, such as moving over to let a larger, more powerful vehicle pass, and to obey any and all parking instructions and laws.
Said Chief Jenks, “Please contact the Cherryville Police Department at (704) 435-1717 in order to register your golf cart. Remember, you must have proof of insurance and such, and be prepared to pay the $25 registration fee, which is renewable yearly.”
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Cherryville native, Krista Haynes, is the Hospice Cleveland County Patient/Family Volunteer Coordinator. Here she is shown with examples of the letters written to patients who are veterans as part of their “We Honor Veterans Program”. (photo by MEP/CF Media)

Cherryville’s Haynes works with Hospice helping veterans heal

Haynes distributes Shelby Middle School football players letters to Hospice of
Cleveland County’s veteran patients


Cherryville native Krista Haynes, loves what she does, especially when it comes to young people stepping up and performing acts of kindness to hospice patients.
As the Hospice Cleveland County Patient/Family Volunteer Coordinator, Haynes recently got to see first-hand a group of teens doing an act of great kindness last month.
Haynes said she spoke to the Shelby Middle School Football Team about Hospice Volunteer Opportunities including the organization’s “We Honor Veterans Program”. The idea was the brainchild of their coach, Justin Bowden, she noted.
Haynes said the team wrote letters to Hospice patients who served in the military to thank them for their service.
In the letters, the kid’s thanked the veterans for their service, saying they had a relative who served and madethem proud of their country and their families.
“Thank you for your sacrifice,” wrote one girl, while others said they were praying
for the veteran.
 “Attached to each letter,” said Ms. Haynes, “was a star from a retired American flag. These letters were then handed out to patients via Hospice staff members.”
Shelby Middle’s Blue Devils head football coach Bowden, said, “In our program, we are well aware of what’s going on in our country’s social and political climate and we talk about how it affects not only our family, but our community. Also, we were looking to do a community service project, and with everything going on in our country, we wanted to give something back. So, the kids came up with this!”
Coach Bowden continued, “I want my players to
be leaders and role models both on and off the field. Hospice
gave us this great opportunity to grow as a program.”
Bowden, who teaches seventh grade science, said his class “really got into it (the letter writing program) and asked good questions about it.”
Haynes, who still lives in Cherryville, said she has been with hospice since Sept. 1996, or 24 years.
“I came to hospice as the administrative assistant and when the volunteer coordinator position came open, I moved into the role as Patient/Family Volunteer Coordinator. I am a people person. In this position I am able to meet patients and families and assign volunteers to them based on their needs.”
She continued, “Hospice volunteers can provide social/emotional support, sit with a patient for a short time while a family member runs an errand or goes to an appointment. Volunteers can possibly run an errand for patient or family.”
Krista said HCC still serves patients/families in the Cherryville area.
Haynes said she knows other Cherryville folks work at HCC; one being RN Whitney White.
“There may be someone else but I don’t know right off hand,” she added.
Of the veterans program, Haynes said, “As a ‘We Honor Veterans’ partner, Hospice Cleveland County, learns about the unique needs of Veterans and their families. They educate staff and the community about caring for veterans facing serious illness and provide a veteran-to-veteran volunteer program that pairs veteran volunteers with hospice patients who are veterans.”
She continued, “Hospice also coordinates care with the Department of Veteran Affairs and other health care organizations. By recognizing the unique needs of our nation’s veterans who are facing a life-limiting illness, Hospice Cleveland County is better able to accompany and guide veterans and their families toward a more peaceful ending.
“In cases where there might be some specific needs related to the veteran’s military service, combat experience, or other traumatic events, Hospice Cleveland County will find tools to help support those they are caring for.”
Haynes noted that if anyone would like to know how they can become a Hospice Volunteer, please call (704) 487-4677. Also, please visit us at to learn more.”
Haynes said, “I have to say, that when I left that afternoon, I was really touched by these guys and their coaches. With all that is going on in the world right now, there is still love, hope, and caring that is taking place, and these young men and women and their coaches are proof of that!”
For his and his kids’ part, Coach Bowden said, “We enjoyed being able to do this, and this is definitely something we will try and do yearly.”
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The missionary family, the Vroege’s, headed back into the mission field of Uganda by way of Holland, after leaving Cherryville on Wednesday, Feb. 24. Mom, Stephanie Patterson Vroege, originally from Cherryville, stands at the left next to her daughter, Sarah; and sons, Josiah and Nathaniah. Standing behind his family is dad, Gertjan. (photo provided)

Cherryville bids the missionary Vroege family a fond farewell

The police, fire and EMS create bonds with missionary family as they head back to first Holland, then Uganda


Cherryville Police, Fire, EMS and First Responders personnel bid the Vroege (pronounced 'Frooha’) family a fond farewell on Wednesday, Feb. 24.
The family of five consists of father, Gertjan; mother Stephanie, sons, Nathaniah and Josiah, and daughter, Sarah. Mom, Stephanie, formerly Stephanie Patterson, is originally from Cherryville, having graduated from CHS in 1990. Her mother, Betty, still lives in Cherryville and works for Gaston County Schools Nutrition.
Cherryville Police Chief Cam Jenks, along with fellow CPD staff Lt. Mark Stout, and Patrol Officer D. Thom, and CFD Assistant Chief Jason Wofford and GEMS EMT Lynn Ledbetter spoke on the Cherryville Main Street’s Facebook page in a four-minute-plus segment talking about the Vroege’s and what the family and their kids have meant to the City while they have been back here in America on furlough. Mrs. Vroege said they have been missionaries to Uganda since 2012.
Said Chief Jenks, “We’re here today (Feb. 24) to see Stephanie and her husband and her children off as they head back to Holland.” Chief Jenks said Stephanie reached out to him, explaining that they had recently come from a mission trip in Uganda and how her children had seen the news of what was happening in the
world concerning law enforcement and people of color.
Jenks said she noted her kids were “…scared of (the) police.”
“Prior to that,” he continued, “some of the officers had gotten to know them as we fueled up our vehicles at McNeely’s, across the street from where they were staying, at the Second Baptist Church visiting speakers guest house.”
Jenks said Mrs. Vroege wanted her children to get to know the Cherryville officers better, adding, “It kind of broke our hearts that they felt that way about law enforcement and that they were scared of the police.”
Jenks noted a “good relationship” formed, to the point of whenever the kids saw them after getting to know them through sometimes taking them breakfast and praying with the officers, or just meeting them and talking to them, “…they would go out of their way to run out and wave to us.”
Stephanie said the family came back to Cherryville after having been gone for five years.
She said on the Facebook video, “When we first arrived our boys were very much afraid of the police because of everything we had seen on the news with what was going on. The first time Josiah saw a policeman, he ran.”
She noted that now the police department has become like family, as has the Fire Department and the emergency Responders, adding how these civil servants even turn on their police and fire truck lights when they see the Vroege children outside playing.
Said Mrs. Vroege, “We’re so grateful to the City of Cherryville and how they have loved us. We are grateful and give God the glory!”  
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March 5 CHS Homecoming to look a little different this year

Changes are due to COVID-19 rules and social distancing restrictions


According to CHS instructor and NHS advisor Emilie Pope, the CHS Homecoming, set for March 5, will look a little different this year, due to COVID-19 rules about social distancing restrictions.
Said Ms. Pope, “It is going to look a little different this year, but we are trying to make it as normal and special as possible.”
Pope noted the five young ladies comprising the 2020/2021 CHS Homecoming Court are: Maggie Beam, Ashlyn Beattie, Allie Kay Homesley, Riley Huffman, and Lindsey Lingerfelt. Ms. Pope added the Homecoming Queen will be chosen at half-time of the scheduled CHS football game at home against Pine Lake Prep, to be played at Rudisill Stadium.
Each of the young ladies submitted brief “bio” information to the Eagle, and they are listed here in no particular order.
Miss Lindsey Lingerfelt is the daughter of Barry and Susan Lingerfelt. In her “bio” she noted that after graduation she plans to attend Appalachian State University and major in Elementary Education.
She is a member of The National Honor Society, The National Technical Honor Society, was a Junior Marshall (2020), in the Interact Club, Fellowship of Christian Athletes and is a member of the CHS track team.
When not in school Lindsey said she works at Knobb Creek Orchards and is a member of First Baptist Church in Cherryville.
Miss Ashlyn Shayne Beattie is the daughter of Rick and Tonya Beattie of Cherryville. She is a member of both The National Honor Society and The National Technical Honor Society.
Ashlyn participates in Drama, Journalism, Interact Club and sings for the school Stage Band. Currently, Ashlyn is an apprentice at Gaston Emergency Medical Services. Following graduation from CHS she plans to pursue a career in either Nursing or Paramedicine.
Miss Allie Kay Homesley is the daughter of Kelly and Trudie Homesley. Allie Kay is a four-year Varsity Cheerleader and was selected for All-Region and the All-State team. She is a six-time State Champion and is the Vice-President of the Senior Class, as well as being a member of the National Honor Society, the FCA and the Metalheads Pep Club.
Allie Kay is very active in the Youth program at her church, St. John’s Lutheran, and helps with the Backpack Ministry, along with being crucifer and acolyte on Sunday mornings. When she is not cheering, she is spending her time with horses, sometimes her own horse Sandy, or other times she’s working a part-time job at Kristi Buff’s ranch tending to her horses. After high school, Allie Kay plans to attend Catawba Valley Community College to pursue a degree in becoming a Dental Hygienist.
Miss Riley Suzanne Huffman, is the daughter of Brandon and Jodi Huffman.
After graduation, Riley plans to attend Clemson University, majoring in Education, to fulfill her dream of becoming a teacher.
Riley is a member of the CHS Ladies Golf Team, a Senior Editor of the CHENOCA yearbook staff, Vice-President of the Interact Club, and a Senior Spokesmodel with Carolina Top Shots. Riley is a past participant of Teen’s Westward Bound (2019), and was named Teen Miss CHS (2019).
When not in school, Riley works at Victoria-Cole Gifts, and is a member of Cherryville’s First Presbyterian Church.
Miss Maggie Beam is the daughter of Trent and Kim Beam. Maggie is a four-year varsity cheerleader and was picked for the All-Region and All-State team. Maggie is a member of The National Honors Society and was also a Junior Marshall. She is the Treasurer of her Senior class. After high school, Maggie plans to attend Appalachian State University to pursue her career as a Nurse Practitioner.
As for the Homecoming Court and their escorts, Ms. Pope noted they are: Maggie Beam, escorted by Quinlan Sanford; Ashlyn Beattie, escorted by Brady Buchanan; Allie Kay Homesley, escorted by Ben Huffstetler ; Riley Huffman, escorted by Gavin Cease; and Lindsey Lingerfelt, escorted by Ty Heavner .
Ms. Pope also noted that as things concerning the Homecoming events are still evolving, some of this year’s participants include Class Representatives as follows: Freshman – Malia Emory and Hunter Jackson; Sophomore – Kylie Reynolds and Collin Robinson; Junior – Macy Bridges and Jack Mulvey; and Senior – Lizzie Brannan and Noah Abernethy.
As for the Football Sponsors, according to information Ms. Pope sent noted they are as follows: Payton Godfrey, sponsored by Colton Godfrey; Lizzie Levine, sponsored by Ford Golden; Rylee-Grace Burgis, sponsored by Hunter Goodman; Marigrace Moyer, sponsored by Christian Hahn; Ashley Reep, sponsored by Dawson Long; Calista Spencer, sponsored by Gage Price; Khya Brooks, sponsored by Austin Thompson; Ciara Petty, sponsored by Matthew Torres; Briley Wright, sponsored by Carson Wright; and, as of this writing, Austin Houser has not yet chosen who he will sponsor. 
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CHS Principal Kevin Doran, Ben Hayes, and Athletic Director Scott Harrill each posed last week with Ben’s Lowe’s Campus Captain Award and Certificate, and his letter from NCHSAA Commissioner Que Tucker. (photo by MEP/The Eagle/CF Media)

CHS senior Hayes gets Lowes Campus Captain Award


Cherryville High School senior Ben Hayes recently was awarded the NCHSAA and Lowe’s Campus Captains Award for the month of January for helping bring sports back to his high school.
He is one of three to be so honored, according to a Feb. 1, 2021 letter from NCHSAA Commissioner Marilyn Que Tucker, sent to him, congratulating him on his nomination and selection.
Hayes was nominated for the award by Athletic Director Scott Harrill on Jan. 12, 2021.
Harrill noted that Hayes, along with junior Landrie Wofford, started the Kindness Club. While Harrill said Wofford came up with the idea for the Club, Hayes got on board quickly and helped her with it implementation and getting the word out.
The award, added Harrill, is. “…more so for being a great team captain and following all COVID-19 protocols and helping in all areas.”
The wording of Coach Harrill’s submission for the award noted that Hayes is, “…an All-Conference Cross-Country runner, and a senior captain on the soccer team,” who “…started raising awareness to be kind, do the right thing, and wear a mask on our return to sports this year. He co-founded our brand-new Kindness Club. The club is designed to support anti-bullying, being kind, and doing the right thing.”
Harrill continued, “At the start of the Fall semester Ben and Landrie Wofford – the originator of the idea for the Kindness Club – came to me and asked for permission to raise funds for posters and life-size wall art to promote kindness and doing the right thing.”
Harrill said, “I am very pleased with the leadership and effort that Ben shows around our school. He is ranked first in the senior class and leads by example. Ben never missed a day of Cross-Country practice and was a leader in the '3 W’s’ and the fight against COVID-19.
“Ben is also trying to help raise mental awareness for students during this difficult time by promoting kindness to others. He is making a huge difference in the lives of others, our school, and our community. He has also carried this over to other schools in our community of Cherryville.
“He has spoken to the City Council, Mayor, and City Manager about his efforts. All of them support it. Ben is a leader in the classroom and on the athletic fields.”
In addition to ranking number one in his class and being very involved in extra-curricular activities, Hayes is also an Eagle Scout and is very involved in his church activities as well as many volunteer activities.
Said Harrill, “He really likes volunteering at Special Olympics and helping others achieve their Eagle Scout honor. He works on a crew that does road-side cleanup as well as their November food drive. During our first sports season, Ben was instrumental in making sure all students did what was needed for COVID-19 and sports to be safe at our school. We were proud that through the overall team efforts we had zero cases of COVID-19.
“Ben is one of the people who wants everyone to succeed and have the opportunity to be their best.”
For his part, Ben said he is “deeply honored” to get the award, adding, “I love doing what I can do to be able to make a difference, like with the Kindness Club. I have a great support system in my parents and my family, my friends, and my fellow students and athletes.”
In addition to being one of the first students back in school when they were allowed to be there, Coach Harrill noted that Hayes is an acknowledged leader in the school’s athletics.
CHS Principal Kevin Doran said, “I am proud of Ben for this great accomplishment and his leadership. He has really modeled the (COVID-19-fighting) three W’s policy (wear a mask; wash your hands; wait six feet apart) here at the school. He has also brought mental health awareness to the school as well as part of the Kindness Club’s endeavors.”
As for college, young Hayes said that while he has been accepted by several universities, he is “still looking” at hid options in order to make a more informed decision about his future.
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Foster families are a diverse group of people who want to take in, nurture, and foster children of all ages in order to help them grow and be better persons as they get older. (photo provided)

Local fosters group need more foster parents

CTSHealth – NC says there is a great need for concerned, caring people


When it comes to ways of helping children to know what a good family life can be like, one Gaston County company suggests fostering.
Julie Hill, Licensing Supervisor for CTSHealth – NC, Gastonia, said recently there is a great need for foster parents.
Hill noted the company has been active in the state for over 20 years, adding, “Our Foster Care Program has been active for a little over 14 years.”
They have agencies in Georgia, South Carolina, and Illinois.
She continued, “We provide more services other than foster care.” She noted their Executive Director is Leah Harvell.
She noted they are reaching out now to try and get more people to become foster parents, noting, “We have been, and constantly are, in need of foster parents, but COVID-19 has increased this need so much more. The number of children coming into care has doubled since COVID began. There actually are some children sleeping at DSS because there are not any homes for them to go to.”
She continued, “This increase is due to several reasons: people relapsing with drug and/alcohol addiction; people with mental health disorders (who) may regress due to all the stress and everything else that comes with this pandemic; people losing their jobs and are unable to provide for their children; and parents at home all day long with their children.
“Especially with homeschooling. Not all parents have the patience, education, or are very tech savvy to assist with homeschooling. It also is much more difficult to teach children with an ADHD/ADD, depression, and Oppositional Defiant Disorder Diagnosis (ODDD).”
Hill said that while sometimes people foster for wrong reasons, the facts are that foster parents “…are given a stipend that is enough to not only provide for a foster child – just as any other children (clothes, food, haircuts, travel, extracurricular activities, and much more) – but also to assist foster parents with the increase in their expenses (food, utilities, gas, etc.).”
She continued, “We also provide competitive pay for our foster parents. I feel like the most rewarding thing a person gets from fostering is to see the difference they make in a child’s life (love, safety, security, stabilization, and a positive role model).
“We have foster children that have graduated from college, gotten married, had children and still have strong relationships with their foster parents.”
As for dealing with the sadness of having a foster child that has been with parents for a long period of time leaving due to reunification or adoption, Hill said, “The huge difference you make in these foster children’s life and seeing them succeed in life totally outweighs the loss you feel when a foster child leaves.”
Hill continued, “We not only have Care Coordinators that work directly with the foster children and parents, but also Licensing Specialists that are strictly there to provide support for foster parents. We provide foster parents with more than enough training to allow them to provide care for these children.”
Hill noted that within their agency we have 95 foster homes and out of those homes they only have three that are available for placements, adding they get…anywhere from five to 10 referrals a day that we most likely cannot place.
“This is due to the age range of these children (not many people want to take in teenagers) or location of foster homes. We get referrals from as far as Burke County to Cabarrus County. DSS tries to keep the foster children somewhat local so that they are not taken away from everything they have known (schools, friends, family members, etc.).”
So, what can a small community like Cherryville do to get involved and try and make a difference, Hill was asked.
Her reply: “The first and foremost way that the people of the Cherryville community can do to make a difference is to become foster parents. Other ways to help are to assist us with getting our agency’s name out there in Cherryville and surrounding communities.
“This can be done by posting flyers at local businesses, allowing us to meet with various church congregations, posting information about are agency and dire need for foster parents on social media and/or media outlets, and just the word of mouth to family and friends.”
Said Hill, “We make sure to let people know, ‘do not stress over things you cannot control!’”
For more information on this agency, contact them at, or call them at (704) 864-1477, ext.102 (office), on their Crisis Line at 1-888-670-1477, or fax them at (704) 864-1476.
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The Cherryville City Council meets twice a month, unless otherwise noted, at the Cherryville Fire Station House. (Eagle file photo by Michael E. Powell)

Council work session items approved for further discussion at Feb. 8, regular session


On Tuesday, Jan. 26, the City Council met for their January work session. There were nine items on the agenda, with all nine receiving Council members’ unanimous approval, thereby moving the proposed topics to the regular session meeting of Feb. 8.
One item was tabled until Council’s next work session, scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 23. That item, fifth on the agenda, was the discussion for the location of a proposed Miles Gantt Food Pantry, which was previously submitted by Mr. Jody Fowler.
City Manager Jeff Cash said the first item for consideration on the work session agenda (Item II.) – a revised resolution approving results of the city’s bonds – was essentially fixing a “typo”, or a typing error, on the original resolution.
“That was corrected and the correction voted on unanimously by the council,” he said.
Council also voted unanimously on setting a public hearing for the conditional use permit for GIS parcel #216371, which is for a new wireless telecommunications tower to be built on land owned by Larry Gunnell and Steven R. Gunnell, located on Doc Wehunt Rd., Cherryville. The applicants are Vertical Bridge Development, LLC, located in Boca Raton. The property site area is 38.11 acres, and the application was submitted on Dec. 17, 2020, according to the information supplied by the City staff.
Next up was consideration of setting a public hearing date on a rezoning request for GIS parcel #22267, located at 112 Howell St., Cherryville.
“Council approved rezoning it from R-9 usage to GMC (General Manufacturing) status,” noted Mr. Cash.
Regarding the discussion of the Terrace Estate Subdivision, City Manager Cash said that would be also discussed at the Feb. 8, regular City Council session. That subdivision is located of Black Rock School Road.
Council also unanimously approved putting a memorial plaque on the Cherryville ABC store in honor and memory of the late Terry R. Fisher, who managed the store for a number of years before his retirement. The proposed name of the memorial is, “Terry R. Fisher Memorial ABC Board.” The application was filed on Jan. 14, 2021 by current ABC Board General Manager, Allen R. Fraley, who is one of the ABC Board members, along with Board Chairman, James R. Beam, and members Gail Jenkins and Timothy Moss.
Mr. Cash also noted Council approved a city-wide cleanup/Earth Day event initially planned for April 22-24.
The Council went into closed session shortly before the end of the session in order to discuss protected information, as per the rules of state statute NCGS 143.318.11(4).
“The City staff was instructed by Council to get more information for them on a particular industrial client,” said Mr. Cash.
In other business Mr. Cash noted the City staff was also asked to get “no parking” signs put up in the Westgate subdivision.
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Butter Me Up Bakery Cakes and Catering owner and chef, Rebecca Goins wields the big scissors as she cuts the ribbon, signifying the opening of her business in downtown Cherryville. Helping her out are husband, Justin; daughters, Lily and Piper; family, friends, co-workers and a host of City, Council, Chamber, and Main Street Program officials and representatives. (photos by MEP/The Eagle/CF Media)

Butter Me Up Cakes and Catering now open for business in Cherryville

Ribbon cutting well attended by family, friends, and City, Chamber, Council and Main Street officials


It’s official! The ribbon is cut and Louisiana-born chef and Cherryville resident,  Rebecca Goins, is in business for herself as “Butter Me Up Cakes and Catering” in downtown Cherryville, opened Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021 at the recently remodeled 200 East Main Street building.
The building was recently remodeled by entrepreneur and businessman Patrick O’Leary and Vickie and Chris Spurling  of Spurling Realty, on Main Street.
Rebecca said the opening was overwhelming at first, getting everything to come together, but added, “It’s a dream come true. The support we’ve had means so much to us!”
Originally Goins ran her business out of her home, but she and husband Justin decided it was time to move to having her own building. Justin, Rebecca and their two beautiful daughters, Lily and Piper were down front when Rebecca took the big scissors and cut the symbolic ribbon to signify her bakery was open for business.
Helping Rebecca out in the bakery are two ladies who she said have been at her side pretty much the whole time: her sister, Madeline “Maddie” Anthony cookie decorator and so much more, and friend, Maleena White, who works in the kitchen and is one of the idea creators, as Rebecca termed it. They are joined by Megan Carpenter, who “works the front of the house,” and then there is Justin Anthony, whom Rebecca called “an all-around handy man, tech support, and (above all) my brother-in-law.”
The bakery is open five days a week, she said, “Monday through Thursdays, from 7 a.m., to 4:30; Fridays until 5:30 p.m. We aren’t open on weekends, and we still cater!”
The bakery offer an assortment of baked goods, as well as a breakfast and lunch menu, coffee, and catering for small businesses and events, as well as specialty and custom-made cakes, some of which can be seen on her Facebook page.
Chamber Board Chairman Pete Craft welcomed Rebecca and crew to Historic Downtown Cherryville. He was joined in that welcome by Mayor H.L. Beam, III, who added to his similar welcome the words, “Where life blossoms!”
Mayor Beam and Mr. Craft wished Mrs. Goins and her staff and family much success and thanked them for choosing Cherryville’s downtown as a place to do business.
Craft noted Goins has overcome a few trials and tribulations, as he called them, in order to open up, but praised her perseverance, sticking with her plan to open her bakery.
“We ask God’s blessing on you and your business,” said Mr. Craft.
Cherryville Main Street Program Chairperson Donna Beringer commented about what a nice turnout there was for the ribbon cutting, noting, “We’re all tired of this COVID business, so it’s great to see this many people come out for this. We are also glad you didn’t quit working to make your dream happen. Please know the City and the Chamber and Main Street are here to be of service to you and to help in any way we can.”
Rebecca spoke and thanked everyone for coming out.
“The support for us and the love you all have shown and we have felt is great! This has been a long time coming but it is definitely worth it! We look forward to seeing everyone come by.”
To contact Butter Me Up Cakes and Catering, Rebecca said to call her at (980) 241-6490, or email her at
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LIVESTRONG’s certified trainer Carl Greene and instructor Margaret Litton at the Dover YMCA, which offers the free program. (photo by MEP/CF Media)

Individual workout in group setting
Shelby YMCA’s free

Cherryville woman says instructors provide each participant with
individual attention


Shelby’s Dover YMCA’s free “LIVESTRONG” is all about providing an individual workout in a group setting for cancer survivors 18 and older, said instructor Margaret Litton recently.
She is quick to point out that many in the class though, range in age from their 60s to their 70s.
Long-time Cherryville resident and Cherryville Historical Museum director Pat Sherrill – one of the LIVESTRONG class participants – said, “I love this class because it meets everyone where you are and the level you are on. It is not an age-related class. My class has people of different ages, so, as a senior, my level of energy may be different and it works.”
Sherrill continued, “Margaret and Carl are available to everyone throughout the class to make sure you are doing exercises safely.
“If you do it incorrectly you could be hurt. Before anyone can take this class, they need approval from their doctor.
“Recently I gave my doctor in Charlotte a copy of the YMCA flyer so maybe he would understand what he has signed me up for and hopefully get this class started in Charlotte, if they don’t have it already.”
Mrs. Sherrill noted, “When the YMCA closed as ‘nonessential’ I even sent an email to the Governor because I disagree with (the definition of) ‘nonessential’. This class is also a discussion class.”
Sherrill said she has been a “Y” member most of her life, since she was 18, adding, “The YMCA building on Park Road in Charlotte was built many years ago. As a Charlotte volunteer I also gave tours of the new building. That was over 40 years ago.”
For Mrs. Sherrill, the LIVESTRONG classes are important to her, not only for the health aspects but, she noted, she “…likes the personal interest taken by the class and its instructors.”
Said Sherrill, “If someone is sick, they are missed and a card is sent. This is truly a Christian organization and is totally essential. I am amazed that such classes would be made available to the public free of charge. These aware people take Christianity to a new level.”
Litton and fellow instructor Carl Greene, along with supervisor Johnny Stamey, oversee the program which has been going on at the Shelby “Y” for some time now.
Litton and Greene noted their program goals include rebuilding strength and endurance; increasing/improving flexibility and ability; reducing cancer therapy severity and side effects; preventing unwanted weight changes; and improving self-esteem and energy levels.
Regarding their participants, Litton noted they do require a medical clearance form from the participant’s doctor in order to document if there are any limitations for the participants.
Mr. Greene agreed, adding, “It’s required to release them (the participants) to be able to exercise. We do it on an individual basis.” Both added that with the LIVESTRONG program, they try and give their participants an overview of various ways to work out on the equipment provided, such as exercise bands, body weight, and any of the various machines at the facility.
The classes are tailored, said Greene and Litton, to each participant’s needs at the time.
“We ask them,” said Litton, “and go from there.”
Litton noted their class size right now is seven, adding, “We try to keep them (the classes) to no more than six. We started with 10, but due to COVID, it decreased a bit.”
For more information or to register, call Litton at (704) 484-9622, or email her at
The Dover YMCA is located at 411 Cherryville Hwy., Shelby, NC.

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An example of the “Hometown Hero” flag the Cherryville Main Street Program is wanting to start up again. This one is of U.S. Navy veteran, Mr. Jerry Walker, who proudly served his country from 1960 to 1964. (photo provided)

Commemorative Veterans’ flag orders being accepted

This year’s CMSP program began
Jan. 5; lasts until March 15


Cherryville Downtown Director David Day said last week the Cherryville Main Street Design Team is again taking orders for commemorative veterans’ flags to be displayed on Main Street during patriotic holidays.
They started on Tuesday, Jan. 5, and Mr. Day said, “We’re accepting orders up to March 15.”
He continued, noting that, along with the orders for the “Hometown Hero” pennants, the CMSP also needs a formal portrait photograph of the uniformed veteran who is to be honored must be either emailed to Day at (, addressed to him at: Cherryville Downtown Director David Day, 220 East Main St., Cherryville, NC, 28021, or delivered in person to him at the Main Street/Chamber of Commerce office at 220 East Main, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.
There is a cost so please either email them and inquire as to the cost or call them at (704) 435-3451, or email him at the already listed email address.
Mr. Day noted all checks – after finding out the price – must be made payable to: “City of Cherryville” and tagged on the memo line “Veterans Flags”.
Once  made,  the  flags will remain property of the city of Cherryville, said.
This is a new venture undertaken by the Chamber and CMSP, said Day, noting, “We only began this past October 2020. We took orders for 12 and hung them during Veterans Day, in November 2020 on Main Street.
“It was so successful that we are now doing it to fill all the light poles throughout the town for special Patriotic and Veterans Holidays.”
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Members of the Traditional New Year’s Shooter’s group line up along the railroad tracks at the Cherryville Train Depot Museum for their “shot” on Friday, Jan. 1, 2021. (photo by MEP/The Eagle/CF Media and Susan L. Powell)

FOLLOWING THE BOOM! – Shooting in New Year 2021 in Cherryville

Spirits in Cherryville; as far away as Lincoln County, and in Waco scared away so we can have a better new year!


“And for good luck we’ll fire our guns!”
And so it begins; the shooting in of the New Year 2021, and blasting out of the bad, old year – 2020. Everyone’s following the boom, as some not in the “know” have described it.
It is something we all need right about now, so the common consensus goes. Goodbye, and good riddance, to a bad and scary old year and hello to the hope of a new and better year.
And, it is a long-lived tradition; one which no little knobby-skinned virus is going to stamp out any time soon, if you listen to what some of the life-long practitioners of this ages-old tradition say.
That said, by all reports, each of the two Cherryville-based groups had a great “shoot” and no injuries or strange goings-on.
Oh, to be sure, much was different, what with the social distancing, masks and all. But, their members knew what was expected of them, and they all love the tradition so much, nothing is too difficult for them to adhere to so long as they get to go out and fire their muskets to honor this venerable, time-tested tradition brought over from the old country by their ancestors. Safety was first and foremost on everyone’s minds; make no mistake of that!
The weather, though forecast to be extremely rainy and damp, didn’t disappoint, though a wicked mist – similar to what one would find on the Scottish moors – stayed with everyone throughout the day.
Nevertheless the stalwart men and women of the Cherryville New Year’s Shooters, Inc., and the Traditional New Year’s Shooters, stayed the course, moving about Cherryville and places in Gaston, Lincoln, and Cleveland counties, doing their duty and scaring away the evil spirits of 2020 (and God knows they were Legion!), paving the way for a better, evil spirit-free, New Year, 2021.
As was reported in a previous Eagle article, both groups’ officers said things were indeed going to look different this year, what with all the Governor’s edicts, and general orders. To that end, plans were made by the groups and their leaders to see to it their members, their hosts, and all involved could have a safe and good time at all costs. They feel, looking back on their “shot” of 2021, they succeeded.
Rusty Wise, an officer with the Cherryville New Year’s Shooter’s, Inc. group, said, “This New Year’s shoot went really well. We had only compliments
 on how smoothly everything went. We had 48 shots to get through in 13 hours and we stayed on schedule the entire time.
“The rain didn’t slow us down at all. We wanted to provide the shooters and hosts the full experience this year even though the timeframe was shortened from 7 to 8 p.m.”
Wise continued, “I’m proud that our group abided by the curfew and state CoVID-19 guidelines and did not put spectators, law enforcement, shooters, and hosts at risk.
“Not doing that would have been disrespectful and irresponsible. Our group is the original New Year’s Shooters group and we need to set an example of how things should be done. Our values are the true core of the tradition and we have 450 members and insurance guidelines that we are responsible for. Hopefully, the 2022 shoot will be back to normal. If not,  we’ll do the right thing and keep everyone safe and continue the original form of New Year’s Shooting going.”
Traditional New Year’s Shooter’s group officer Gary Dellinger said their group of around 200-plus started at midnight at Cherryville City Hall, then went out of county to shoot.
“We had 60 new members, and we shot throughout the countryside, then came back to Gaston County, wishing everybody a Happy New Year,” he said.
Gary said their group actually finished a bit earlier; around 5 p.m., at the Great Outdoors.
Dellinger noted that CoVID-19 was a big concern for their group going forward.
“As early as November 2020 our group had talks about what the shot was going to look like, what with masks being worn, social distancing, and their asking host families to serve no food, and all,” he noted. “We knew we were going to shoot to keep the tradition going.”
Gary said their original route was altered and changed somewhat this year due to CoVID-19’s issues, and added they aren’t yet sure their group will stay with that same schedule come 2022.
“There were no injuries and we had a great, safe time. The hosts were glad to see us,” he said.
The two groups will rest up, and then plans will be laid to start thinking about next year, once they all see what is going to happen with the CoVID-19 vaccine and all.
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Butch Boyd, Amy Butler, John Randall, and Sandy Homesley are all diligently cleaning the equipment at the Cherryville Family YMCA. This is an hourly routine at all the Gaston County YMCA’s in this time of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Cherryville ‘Y’ is hosting Open House Friday, Jan. 1, 2021

It’s a part of County YMCA’s “Resolve to help yourself, your neighbors this New Year’s”  program


According to Molly D’Avria, Director of Advancement for the Gaston County Family YMCA, and the staff at the Cherryville Family YMCA, Friday, Jan. 1, 2021 will be a special day for the Cherryville Family ‘Y’.
D’Avria said simply in a media release, “We are preparing for New Years at the Y.”
The big deal that day, noted D’Avria, is that the Cherryville ‘Y’ is hosting an Open House that Friday, Jan. 1, from 7 a.m., to 2 p.m. “The community is welcome to come in to check out the ‘Y’ and work out,” she said, adding there is also a ‘No Joining Fee’ offer from that Jan. 1, to Saturday, Jan 9.
“We hope people take advantage of this offer,” she said, as we are asking that this New Year’s, we all resolve to help ourselves and our neighbors.”
Cherryville Family YMCA Administrative Coordinator Butch Boyd said, “As Molly said, we are doing our annual Open House on Jan. 1 2021, at the times listed, and anyone is welcome to drop in, tour our facilities, ask questions, get ‘demo’s’ or whatever, and if they join from Jan. 1, through Jan. 9, we will waive the $50 joining fee.
“Plus, we will give them a $20 off their first months’ membership fee, that’s a savings of $70!”
He continued, “If a current member gets a new member to join, we will also give that member a $20 savings for their first membership fee in January.”
Boyd said they will have invitations at the front desk at the Cherryville Family YMCA for their members to give out to prospective members in order to take advantage of this opportunity.
He also noted the Cherryville Branch will not have any group exercise class on Jan. 1, but added, “Members can take advantage of our Virtual Fitness, and Health and Wellness Classes. They can take a look at these on our Gaston Family website.”
Said Boyd, “We in Cherryville continue to follow the COVID-19 policies and protocols at all of our four locations and our number one priority is the safety and well-being of our members and guests. We are cleaning like crazy, so come join us on Jan. 1, 2021!”
Cherryville Family YMCA Member Services Coordinator Sandra Homesley agreed with Boyd, adding, “We are excited for our community to be healthy this new year! We challenge Cherryville to make a New Year’s resolution to join the ‘Y’!
“We are having a ‘no joining fee’ Jan. 1, through 9, and we will go the extra mile to keep our ‘Y’ safe and clean for our members!”
Also in the media release, D’Avria noted how membership to any of the Gaston County Family YMCA’s not only benefits the individual, but also Gaston County, as a whole.
Said D’Avria, “It’s always exciting to change the calendar from December to January. A new year is filled with potential and the chance to start fresh. And after the busy holidays filled with celebrations and tables of delicious treats, it’s not surprising that, according to a 2019 survey, 65 percent of people resolved to exercise more with the New Year.
“But what if your New Year’s resolution could benefit more than just yourself? When you join community-based organizations like the ‘Y’, you’re committing to more than simply becoming healthier; you’re supporting the values and programs that strengthen the communities where you live.”
Sharon Padgett, Gaston County YMCA’s CEO, said, “Community-based organizations like the ‘Y’ provide the resources and opportunities that people need to reach their full potential, and supporting those organizations through membership and philanthropy helps ensure they can continue to help build the communities we all want to live in.
“Membership at Gaston County Family YMCA helps provide support for programs that address distance learning, food insecurity, chronic disease prevention and so much more. From athletics to academic achievement, weight training to water aerobics, and virtual learning to volunteerism, the Y doesn’t just strengthen bodies – it strengthens people, families and communities.”
Padgett continued, “As our friends and neighbors look to make themselves healthier in the New Year, we want them to remember that when they join the ‘Y’, they’re not simply joining a gym, they’re joining a community.
“The ‘Y’ brings together people from different backgrounds, perspectives and generations and ensures that we all have access to the opportunities, relationships and resources necessary to learn, grow and thrive.”
To learn more about joining any of the Gaston County Family YMCA’s please visit

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All 2020 CFD awards recipients present at the Dec. 12 ceremony pose for a group picture. They are (left to right): Pete Craft, D/E Barry Heavner, Capt. Nathan Bowman, Tony Jones, Lindsey Lingerfelt, Tyler Heavner, AFC Jason Wofford, Trent Rayfield, and Capt. Chris “Pudge” Cash. (Absent when photo was made was Adam Gunter.) (photo by Jhoan Alfaro)

2020 CFD awards banquet
was a little different this year

Ceremony was virtual due to COVID-19 restrictions


This year’s Cherryville Fire Department Christmas Banquet and Awards ceremony looked quite a bit different from past years, noted Chief Jeff Cash.
“Unfortunately, this year’s Cherryville Fire Department Annual Christmas Banquet and Awards Ceremony was held this past Saturday (Dec. 12) at the fire station due to the COVID virus,” he said.
Chief Cash said the ceremony was held virtually but for those who wish to view it, it can be found on their Facebook site.
A total of 10 awards, service pins, and scholarships were handed out that afternoon, which was also the same day the CFD staff gave away more of the face masks they had received back in August.
Chief Cash said, “We honored some of our finest folks and awarded two scholarships.”
He noted that special thanks go out to their various sponsors, adding, “It is great recognizing special folks which were chosen by their peers to be set apart! All award winners help us provide, ‘…exceptional service by safeguarding our community through exceptional service’”!
Also, Chief Cash said special thanks goes out as well to their Cherryville Fire Department Ladies Auxiliary; as well as Jhoan Alfaro who filmed the ceremony.
Said Cash, “We are so very blessed to have such loyal and dedicated folks serving our community!”
The following awards, service pins, and scholarships were given at the 2020 ceremony: Service Pins – Adam Gunter, 15 years of service; Barry Heavner, 30 years of service; and Chris “Pudge” Cash, 35 years of service.
Ms. Lindsey Lingerfelt and Capt. Nathan Bowman were the recipients of the 2020 Roy Carpenter Memorial Scholarship, which is sponsored by the Cherryville Fire Dept.’s Ladies Auxiliary.
Cherryville Chamber of Commerce’s Pete Craft was the recipient of the Chief’s Citizen Advocate of the Year, while the CFD nominee for Gaston County Firefighter’s Association Firefighter of the Year was Trent Rayfield. The award is given in memory of J. Ralph Beam, Jr., and is sponsored by the Beam and Davis Family.
This year’s “Top Gun”award went to Tony Jones. This award, noted Chief Cash, is given in memory of William B. Beam and Helen Q. Beam, and is sponsored by the Cash Family.
The CFD Officer of the Year award was presented to Assistant Chief Jason Wofford. The award is sponsored by the Beam/Davis Family.
And last, but certainly not least, the CFD Firefighter of the Year award, which is given in memory of Muriel M. Cash, Sr., and is sponsored by the Cash Family, was given to Tyler Heavner.

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Cherryville Head Start Center Manager Ms. Beverly Mobley and Classroom 2 teacher, Ms. Lakisha McCorkle. (photo by MEP/The Eagle/CF Media)

After 2018 fire Cherryville Head Start now back to business of teaching


The Cherryville Head Start program is back open, as of October 2020, and is moving forward after a devastating fire almost crushed their hopes of being able to provide quality care and education for Cherryville children.
Spokesperson Debra Lutz said the fire occurred on April 24, 2018, and forced the teachers and their students out of the building while Cherryville firefighters took care of the problem. There was, sadly, a great deal of smoke and water damage, which forced the closing of the building, located a little behind and to the side of the Cherryville Post Office.
Said Ms. Lutz, “The building had significant damages that caused the reconstruction of the building from roof to the sub-flooring.”
She noted the process took two years and six months to complete.
Meanwhile, said Lutz, Head Start allowed the program to carry out a home-based, program staff visiting children in their homes.
“The staff provided a socialization day each week located in the St. John’s Lutheran Church where children met with teaching staff for activities and then went to the Cherryville Library for literacy activities,” she said.
“The parents would come with their children, so the parents would participate in a parent group that met with the Family Advocate. The parents and children received breakfast from the Cherryville McDonalds each time they had the socialization day.”
Center Manager Beverly Mobley remembers the day of the fire well.
“We are so happy to have children back in the building,” said Ms. Mobley, a sentiment echoed by all of the teachers and Child Advocates as well.    
Lutz noted they now have a new Family Advocate in Amiee Palmer, along with Family Advocate, Janet Gordon. It is Ms. Palmer’s first time in Cherryville, she said, adding that she “loves it here.”
Additionally, and equally as important, the kids’ teachers are back.
Classroom I teacher Ms. Quawona Hill is back, as is Classroom II teacher Ms. Lakisha McCorkle, who has worked with children with special needs previously and has taught at Rankin 1 & 2; Highland Charter; and is now at Cherryville.
“The kids are all so excited about being her,” said Ms. McCorkle.
With Ms. Hill, who has been at Cherryville for six years, is Substitute teacher, Mrs. Charlene Withrow.
Rounding out the able and capable staff is Ms. Kristin Thomas, the Education Specialist for the Cherryville Head Start.
Both Lutz and Thomas said, “we are so excited about having children back in the building!”  
Currently, there are 20 children enrolled in the center at this time.
Mobley and Lutz said the students attend four days of the week, with Wednesday as the day for professional development and training for staff. This allows the staff to spend extra time in the center cleaning and sanitizing for the next session.
Said Ms. Lutz, “We are cleaning according to CDC guidelines. We have our staff cleaning daily and we also have a professional contractor cleaning each night, sanitizing and wiping down high touch surfaces. If there is an issue with COVID-19, we then get an electro-static fogger and go through the center to disinfect the surfaces.
“We feel the cleaning is going above and beyond the CDC guidelines for cleaning in daycare situations.”
Mobley and her staff are very thankful for the hard work and help of their “miracle worker”, a young man named Gary Washington, who said it took roughly, “923 days of ‘love’ (a.k.a. hard work!)” to get the center up to speed in order to open back up for the kids.
Additionally, Mobley said, “We would like to thank the community for being patient with the program. We are happy to be back to providing services in the center where children can be engaged with the teachers learning and accomplishing their goals.”
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Dr. Thomas R. White with his NC Family Physician of the Year Award, which he received on Nov. 6, 2020. (photo by MEP/The Eagle/CF Media)

Dr. White receives NC Family Physician of the Year Award

Cherryville physician’s medical practice always been about his patient’s best interests


Cherryville physician Dr. Thomas Rhyne White was honored on Friday, Nov. 6, with the prestigious NC Family Physician of the Year Award.
Said White recently of the honor, “It’s an award I’ve witnessed being given every year at the Grove Park Inn (in Asheville) for as long as I can remember.
“It’s not voted on and you are nominated anonymously. A committee meets and looks at all of the nominees and goes from there.”
White, a 1972 Cherryville High School grad, said a career in the medical field was not on his radar then; he instead said he wanted to be a basketball coach and a biology teacher.
“I knew I wanted to go to Duke at a young age – around 5, I believe – and told my mom that’s what I wanted to do and what I wanted to be,” he said.
That all changed when, as a senior at CHS, young White had a serious burn injury requiring treatment by Dr. Marshal E. Agner, who White watched earnestly as he treated him and affected his eventual healing.
“He was an inspiration to me, as was Dr. Forrest Houser.  Watching  these men’s work ethic and devotion to their practice, their patients and their community made an impression on me,” he said.
After high school, Dr. White attended Duke, receiving his undergraduate degree, and later, his medical degree. After an internship and residency at Charlotte Memorial, now CMC Main, from 1980 to 1983, White said he knew he all along he wanted to eventually return home to Cherryville and set up practice here.
In the summer of 1988 Dr. White moved his family to Cherryville, and in September of that year opened his first practice.
“It was a real barn-burner of an opening,” he said, smiling at the memory. “That first day I saw 13 patients! That was the slowest day of my entire career,” he said.
Things went along until 2013, he said, when White noted it became apparent to him he wasn’t, in his words, “going to be happy working with a large hospital.”
White elaborated, “I thought, ‘that’s not how I want to end my career’. Medically speaking, I thought we had lost our focus, which was treating our patients and giving them the proper time they needed to be seen and heard.
“So, I left in 2014 and took a year sabbatical. I began making inquiries into the medical model of Direct Primary Care (DPC), studying different models, until I found one that answered many of my questions and met my criteria.”
White said DPC is not a true concierge medical service model, like some that have been touted in the past by the media, buy is rather a significantly less expensive model.
“In our office the patient has a direct relationship with the physician,” he said.
White’s practice has been so successful they have been, he said, full for about three years now. In 2017 Dr. White added another physician to their DPC – Dr. Joshua Carpenter.
“We anticipate adding another physician by this coming summer,” he said.
As for the honor given and the award itself, Dr. White had this to say, in the speech he gave at the November event held at the Cherryville Fire Station. Here is a part of that speech; his words speak volumes.
“We have all been through much together, and you all have made my life and career memorable and richer. Thank you all for my connection to you and your families, and for letting me be a dot in your lives.
“I understand this award honors me – but the truth is it honors many, many, other people. It honors my family; my wife, Diana, and my children, Whitney and Daniel – who deserve much bigger awards than me. Thank you, I love you.
“It honors my staff, Kristin, Shari, and Mary, who have worked with me for over 30 years, and my more recent staff, Liz Fowler and Amanda Harris. This award honors the great partners I have had over the years who have made me a better physician, Ashley Miller and Cheryl Baxter, at CPC, and in the past three years, at HTDC, Dr. Josh Carpenter, the best young doctor I know, and the recipient of this award in the year 2040.
“This award also honors my patients who have granted me the privilege of being their doctor and it honors the City of Cherryville and its citizens who have supported me and given me this opportunity.
“And lastly, this award honors a huge number of other doctors who should all be recognized and thanked. All those medical students who chose family medicine as a career, knowing that other specialties seemed more prestigious and certainly more rewarding financially.
“It honors all those family doctors who chose to practice in small towns and communities, foregoing the conveniences and, again, the higher salaries of the bigger cities. It honors all those family physicians who have returned to their home town to practice, even when told this was crazy. And it honors all those family physicians who have listened to a different drummer, who have practiced medicine the way they thought was in the best interest of the patient, and who have done other outrageous things, like painting their building pink.
“All those people – my family, my staff, my colleagues, my patients, my community, and the many other family physicians who chosen the same path as me – deserve to share in this honor today.”
After offering a quote from one of his favorite business role models, Apple co-founder, the late Steve Jobs, Dr. White closed with this thought, “Somehow, luckily, and with lots of love, support, and friendships, I became what I was supposed to become – a family physician, in my hometown of Cherryville, in a pink building, with a wonderful family, exceptional friends and colleagues, amazing teammates, and trusting loyal patients.
“I have been very fortunate. Thank you for this honor.”
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At the Saturday, Aug. 29, mask giveaway at the Cherryville Fire Dept., Chief Jeff Cash and his wife Cynthia (front, far right) show what the masks look like. With them are members of the CFD and HPVFD who came out to help out with the giveaway. Sitting down, from left, are: Colby Heffner and Ryan Gunter; and (standing) the Cashes. Standing, in back, left to right, are: Clay Thornburg (HPVFD), and Richard Winters and Capt. Kurt Black, who are with the CFD. (Eagle/CF Media file photos by Michael E. Powell)

CFD to host another mask
give-away Saturday, Dec. 12


In spite of the last face mask give-away being fairly successful, Chief Jeff Cash and his crew at the Cherryville Fire Department are still in a giving mood.
And, let’s face it… FREE is ALWAYS good!
With that in mind, CFD Administrative Assistant Brittany Bingham said recently that Chief Cash has decided to hold another drive-through face mask giveaway at the fire station on Saturday, Dec. 12, from 9 a.m., until 2 p.m.
Bingham said the department had originally received about 33 cases of the white, washable face masks.
In a previous Eagle article, Assistant Chief Jason Wofford said the masks were donated by FEMA, the Department of Health and Human Services, and N.C. Emergency Management. In that article AFC Wofford thanked Emergency Management Director Kevin Gordon, who contacted the CFD in August about the availability of the masks for the give-away.
Originally planned for this past August, Bingham noted the department had to settle on a September timeframe due to inclement weather, which forced the event indoors, or inside the fire truck bays, at CFD.
As for how many masks were handed out in September, Bingham said, “During the last mask giveaway, we handed out around 3,000 masks. We received somewhere around 13,000 masks initially. We have roughly 10,000 masks left.”
Ms. Bingham noted the event will be a drive-through event like last time.
“We will have two lanes open in the bay. Volunteers will have tables set up and will bring the masks to each car. We plan to run this event from 9 a.m., until 2 p.m.,” she said.
Brittany said if all the masks aren’t given away in this second give-away, then, “It is undecided at this point what we will do with the remaining masks.”
Bingham said she thought the first event “ran very smooth.”
“We were able to distribute a decent number of masks to the citizens of our community. We hope that we will have even more success with this event. It is important to us to keep the members of our community as safe as possible in the midst of this pandemic,” she added.
It should also be noted that if anybody needs a mask, they can call the fire station at (704) 435-1730, Monday through Friday, from 8 to 11:30 a.m., and later, from 12:30 to 5 p.m., to see how they can get masks if needed.
Chief Cash has said these masks are washable up to 15 times, and come in packs of five to a pack.
In the previous Eagle article, AFC Wofford’s feelings about mask wearing are, in order to help flatten the COVID-19 curve and help those most vulnerable to the virus, that wearing a mask seems to do just that… help. Both Chief Cash and AFC Wofford noted in the article that “…any protection from the coronavirus is better than none,” hence the importance of wearing face coverings of some sort.
AFC Wofford also noted, “I know masks can be a hot topic with those who do not like to wear them or believe they are any help, but these (masks) are being provided for those who dwo. It is important to replace or wash masks regularly.”

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During last year’s ‘shoot’, CNYSI Secretary Rusty Wise and his son Winston (in red jackets, 2nd and 3rd from left) watch as one of the group’s members prepares to fire his musket. (Eagle/CF Media file photo by Michael E. Powell or Susan L. Powell)

What will be different with this year’s New Year’s Shooters?

The obvious (and most discernible) things will be masks, social distancing, and no physical contact with hosts


The Cherryville New Year’s Shooters tradition we have all come to know and love so well will, thankfully, go on, according to spokesmen for both groups.
However – spoiler alert here – things will look a little different than in the past.
Cherryville New Year’s Shooter’s, Inc. Secretary Rusty Wise said, “We will be providing each member shooter with a custom logo mask as well as enforcing mask wearing by all shooters, social distancing, and hand sanitizing frequently.
“Also, we are asking the hosts to stay on the porch and shooters to stay in the yard and shooting area.”
His counterpart, Traditional New Year’s Shooter spokesman Gary Dellinger, said of changes for their group, “There will definitely be changes this year as a result of COVId-19.”
He continued, “All members will be required to wear a mask anytime they are outside of their vehicle; no members will be allowed in a host family’s house, on their porch, or to make physical contact,  such  as   shaking hands with the host family.”
As for anticipating fewer numbers of participants this year, Wise said, “We really do not know at this time the number of hosts or shooters. We’ve had no host to cancel or shooters say they are not shooting. We have several new hosts that have asked us to shoot for them this year. The shooting schedule will be the last thing we finalize this year.”
Dellinger said of his group (TNYS), “We have, on average, about 200 active members each year. I have no idea how many members we will have this year, but I haven’t heard anybody say they were not going to shoot because of COVID.
One of the important facets of the shooter’s experience, aside from the obvious shooting and camaraderie, is being able to eat a meal with a particular host of their family.
This year though Wise said their group has asked that no food or drink be provided by hosts this year.
“I know this is disappointing for the hosts and shooters,” he said, “but preparing and consuming food tends to make people gather. We are doing everything we can to make everyone safe. The shooters will have to bring their own food or take breaks as they need to.
“We’ve also lowered membership dues to ease the cost to members this year. Everything we have planned will be outside this year. There will be no meetings and even our member sign-ups will be outdoors and kept as short as possible.”
Said Gary, on their group’s handling of this issue, “We will not be going inside anyone’s house to eat. Some of the hosts have asked about ‘grab and go’ snacks. We advise members to plan on bringing food for themselves with them.”
As for the now-constant mantra to “practice social distancing”, the rule for both groups is simple: follow our rules or you don’t get to shoot this year.
Said Wise, “We are asking everyone to social distance as best they can and wear a mask. If they break the rules we will politely ask them to obey the rules. If they continually break our rules, we will call the authorities and have them removed.”
Dellinger noted, “We have a new form this year that all members will have to sign – prior to getting their badge – that states they agree to abide by the rules in order to shoot this year.
“We have a really good group and we don’t expect any problems, but it’s pretty simple, if you don’t follow the rules, you don’t shoot.”
Regarding the number of stops for the groups this year, Wise said, “As stated earlier, we may have more stops this year. We will be moving at a fast pace (this year) so we may have more stops than usual. We may throw a couple of planned breaks in also.
“The schedule will be fluid this year and could change at any minute. We will post updates on social media if need be. There might be a few “live” video ‘feeds’ also.”
Said Dellinger, “We are in the process now of contacting all of the hosts we shoot for to make sure they still want us to come. So far, all have agreed for us to come as usual. We have actually had a larger than normal number of requests for new shots to be added this year.”
In closing, Rusty said, “This year will be different. As to how much different we shall see. It really depends on the virus.
“We will not do anything to endanger our members or the public. I envision the custom logo mask being in a museum later on because this will be the ‘Year of the Virus’ for the shooters. We do ask that spectators pick various times to view the shooters and spread out. We do not need large gatherings of spectators. This may be a good year for spectators to stay home. You may not see us but you’ll definitely hear us.”
Gary’s closing comments no doubt echo his fellow shooter’s feelings.
“We always enjoy having followers join us on the route, but this year may not be the best year to do that,” he said.
“We want to keep everyone as safe from the virus as we can, but we believe the tradition that dates back hundreds of years is too important not to do all we can to preserve it, even through a pandemic.
“We ask if you do follow this year, please do as our members will be doing and wear a mask. Also, please stay separated as best you can from the shooters, hosts, and other followers. Or better yet, enjoy the tradition from your car or home.”
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New Marine Jerran Croft (second from left, front row) at his United States Marine Corps graduation ceremony held at Parris Island on Nov. 13, 2020. (photos provided)

2020 CHS grad, football player, now a USMC  boot camp grad


Ever since he was a six-year-old, Jerran Croft, formerly of Cherryville, and the son of Robin and Jesse Croft, knew he was going to be a Marine. At least that’s what he told them, and he never wavered, according to them, from that path.
The Croft’s; dad’s a laser operator at LeeBoy in Lincolnton, and mom works for Southwood Realty and is the property manager of Park Terrace Apartments in Bessemer City, said Jerran, a 2020 graduate of Cherryville High School, recently had another graduation ceremony, one for the United States Marine Corps at Parris Island on Nov. 13, 2020.
Mrs. Croft said, “Jerran told me when he was six years old, 'Mom, I am going to be a Marine.’ He was born right after 9/11 and the country was extremely patriotic there for awhile, so I think maybe that’s what led him to want to be a Marine.
“I thought it would pass, but he never wavered. When he was 17 he asked us to sign for him. The Marine Corps has always been his only choice. He said he wanted to 'be a part of the baddest and toughest’, and to him that was the Marines.”
After his graduation from boot camp, Robin said he was continuing his combat training somewhere in North Carolina, but noted she can’t say where that is due to national security concerns.
Though she said neither she nor his dad were in the military, Jerran was adamant in his choice of which branch of the service he wished to serve with. She added, “Jerran has enlisted for four years active and two years inactive service and has said that he wants to make a career out of it.”
Mrs. Croft said Jerran’s “MOS”, or school of training, is Construction Engineer.
She said, “He said he intends to go to trade school while he is there and learn a trade that goes along with his job. He intends to get all of the schooling he can while in the Marines.”
While a student at Cherryville High School Jerran was a wide receiver and cornerback all four years he was there.
Said Robin, “Even though Jerran’s decision was very hard on our family at first, we have learned to accept his decision, because it was his decision, not ours.
“We are so very proud of him and honored that he is one of the few that is willing to give it all for his country. I believe all people in the military must have a higher calling from God to do what they do. I am so thankful for each and every  one of them! They truly are very special people!”
Mrs. Croft continued, “Jerran is the youngest of four. My oldest daughter, Sierra Croft, graduated from NC State in 2017 with a Chemical Engineering degree. My other son, Jesse Croft, II, went to Cape Fear Community College but decided to come home and go to work. My youngest daughter, Savannah Croft, graduated this year from NC State with a Sustainable Materials and Technology degree, and then there is Jerran, my Marine.”
The Croft’s don’t yet know where their son will be posted, but they know he will give the Marines 110 percent, because that’s the kind of guy he is.
Cherryville High School has a proud and storied history of its students serving in the various branches of the U.S. military.
Ironman Jerran Croft now joins those ranks, continuing to make his mark as a part of that great bunch of young men and women who have served and continue to serve their country.
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2019 Thanksgiving Community Meal organizer Tammy Campbell (far left) talks with volunteer server, Dr. Jennifer Walls at the 11th Annual Community Thanksgiving Meal held last year. (Eagle/CF Media file photo by Michael E. Powell)

2020 Community Thanksgiving meal had different look this year

Drive-through service, “take out”, and
delivery the rule of the day for “Turkey Day” feast in the time of COVID


The 12th Annual Cherryville Thanksgiving Community Meal Drive-Through had a new look and new method of operation this year, said the event’s organizers.
The event, held on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020 was a “To-Go Only” event, and started at 11 a.m., lasting until 2 p.m., and was on a “While Supplies Last/First Come First Serve” basis, according to the promoters.
As was done last year (in the good, old ‘pre-COVID’ days), it was held at the Post 100 American Legion building, located at 215 N. Pink St., Cherryville. The event was sponsored by Food Lion.
Organizer Tammy Campbell noted in last year’s Eagle article on the Community Thanksgiving Meal, they “…had a total of 711 people that received a meal; 159 (fed) at the Legion Building and 552 (meals) were sent out.”
She also noted that, in spite of the inclement weather last year,  she  and her fellow organizers and workers were just thankful they had people willing to get out in the rain to deliver those meals for them.
Campbell, who works for ACTEGA North America in Lincolnton, is no stranger to working out all the kinks, glitches, and what-not when it comes to this much-loved annual feast, having done it now for the past 12 years. She and all those who put in their time, efforts, and hard work to help their community know it’s all worth it, to see the hungry get fed a great meal.
In an email last week to the Eagle, Campbell acknowledged how different things were going to be thanks to the state’s many pandemic restrictions.
Speaking of the event’s uniqueness, she said, “Due to (those) restrictions we did a drive-through event only. We had the kitchen volunteers cooking – with everyone masked and gloved ¬– in the back kitchen.
“We had the take-out area set up like normal; we just had to limit how many people we had in there.
“Again, all volunteers had on masks and gloves. We had a few outside to get the number of how many plates a pick-up person needed. They gave that number to a person at the front of the building, who then relayed that to the to-go staff. They then got that number of plates and took them out to the front staff and who gave them to them, either by placing their food in their trunk or back seat, kind of like a pizza place. They then drove away and we went on to the next car.”
Campbell also said they also again served the Meals on Wheels people from the Cherryville area.
“They sent their drivers to pick up for their normal route and they deliver those for us. I also asked the local churches to send me the names and addresses of shut-ins that needed a plate delivered and we sent people out to do that.
“Hopefully, we were able to get everyone a meal that needed one, even with all the restrictions,” she said.
Fellow organizer Max Jonas said Food Lion cooked 38 whole turkeys, deboned them upon arrival at the Legion building before serving them, and also provided green beans, corn, turkey gravy, sweet potatoes and yams, dressing, and slaw for the meals.
“I want to say a word of thanks to Food Lion and (store manager) Tammy Evans and (department manager) Karen Newton for once again helping out with this,” he said.
Cherryville Area Ministries Director Sherry Curry was also one of the organizers and helped at the event.
Said Mrs. Curry, “This event being a drive-through was good as far as this pandemic was concerned. It meant less contact from us to them. I felt that would have an impact on possibly more people coming out that day. We hoped and prayed it would be a really good turnout.”
Curry said she knew the way they did the meal this year was going to be “something new”, but said she also felt it was, “kind of exciting” to still get people fed, which is a blessing in and of itself.
“It was also great to see many of the Cherryville-area churches and others volunteer and get involved with this feeding ministry,” she said.
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Natalie Poston, Chavis Middle’s 2020 Teacher of the Year is seen here teaching her 8th grade students some of the finer points of Math I. (photo by MEP/The Eagle/CF Media)

JCMS’ Poston “2020 Teacher of the Year”


John Chavis Middle School eighth grade Math I teacher Natalie Willis Poston is John Chavis Middle School’s “2020 Teacher of the Year”, an accolade which she said is a “first” for her.
Mrs. Willis, 34, teaches Math I, she said, which is high school level mathematics normally taught to the ninth through 12th grade levels. Her students get high school level credits for it, she added.
Mrs. Poston, a 2004 CHS grad, played softball, volleyball, and basketball
for the Lady Ironmen, and also played sports for the Lady wolverines during her time at JCMS. She attended Appalachian State University, where she majored in Secondary Math Education, and played softball there as well, she said. She graduated from ASU in 2008.
Poston began her teaching career in 2009 at Bessemer City High School, where she taught math.
“Math just came natural to me. I always wanted to be a teacher,” said Mrs. Poston, whose mother, Judy Willis, was a teacher in the Cleveland County School system. Her dad, Dennis, owns Willis Septic Systems. She has a brother, Bryson, who is employed at the family business, she noted.
Poston is married, and she and her husband are the proud parents of three; Joselyn, 5, and twin boys; Brady and Brayden, both 4.
Of her honor, Poston said, “I wasn’t expecting it! It feels a little intimidating to me, in a way. I never thought I’d be one.
“Also, I feel like there is a higher expectation for me to meet, but then again, I set high expectations for myself anyway.”
Chavis Principal Matt Rikard said, “Mrs. Poston believes all of her students can excel, and she holds them all to a standard of excellence.
“She wants what is best for her students academically and personally. She is a true example of what makes John Chavis Middle School so great.
“We are blessed that a product of John Chavis Middle School has returned home!”
When asked what her students said when they found out about her honor, she smiled and said, “They told me 'congratulations’. She said her parents told her they were proud of her, noting that “all that hard work paid off.”
Some of Poston’s hobbies, she said she likes, are to run, or be outdoors as much as she can, or to participate in any kind of sport.
“I’m very competitive, which, I guess goes hand-in-hand with my high expectations,” she said, with a big grin.
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Rev. Kyle DeLong, the new pastor for the Cherryville First Church of the Nazarene, stands outside by the church’s sign. (photo by MEP/The Eagle/CF Media)

New Cherryville Nazarene pastor says his past is his testimony

He wants to help people out of the walls they’ve built around themselves


When Rev. Tom Hartis retired as the pastor of Cherryville’s First Church of the Nazarene in 2019, the small church and its faithful congregation set about earnestly praying, seeking God’s help on filling their leadership vacancy.
Their search was going all right until the unexpected came along in the form of a national shutdown due to the Chinese coronavirus, a.k.a. COVID-19, which forced America’s faithful to rethink and retool their worship services.
The Nazarene faithful, like their Christian brethren of all denominations and names across the nation took a step back and tried to make sense of how to meet and worship in this “Time of COVID”.
Church Secretary and Treasurer Glenn Willis, a long-time member of the little church with a big history in Cherryville, noted, “We have been having preaching only for social distancing purposes.”
The Nazarene’s story is not too dissimilar from the Baptists, Lutherans, Methodist, Presbyterians, and even many of the Catholic faithful in the way they have had to tailor their Sunday and Wednesday services.
Then, the Lord worked a miracle and sent them one of His warriors in the person of the Rev. Kyle DeLong, a minister’s son, who’s past, by his own admission and witness, is, well… shall we say, a bit checkered?
At any rate, according to Mr. Willis, Rev. DeLong was called to be their pastor on Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020, and the installation service was held the following Sunday, on Oct. 25, 2020, at 5 p.m., with Dr. Greg Mason officiating.
Pastor DeLong and Mr. Willis sat down with the Eagle on Nov. 4, the day after the elections, and talked about what the Lord has in store for Cherryville’s First Church of the Nazarene.
Reverend DeLong, a youthful looking 51, was straightforward and honest about his past, before he came back to Christ.
“I am going on 24 years as a recovering alcoholic and drug addict. I am also a six-time felon, which is where God found me, met me, and saved me from certain destruction!” said Rev. DeLong.
DeLong, in addition to being the newly installed pastor at the First Church of the Nazarene, also pastors the Hickory Church of the Nazarene, splitting his time there and here, he said. Additionally, Rev. DeLong said he also teaches as a re-entry instructor at Catawba Valley Correctional Center.
“My father, Dennis, was a Nazarene pastor for 42 years,” said Rev. Kyle. “He retired in Salisbury at the First church of the Nazarene there, but sadly passed away last August.” He said he has an older sister, Lori Robinson, who is a teacher in Ashe County.
Rev. DeLong’s personal testimony begins when he was a 13-year-old teen in Indiana and was dabbling and experimenting with drugs and alcohol. Fast forward to his 30’s, DeLong said he was in prison for his drug-induced wayward exploits when, as he put it, “God got a hold of me in prison! He told me to turn my life around. I just didn’t think I had anything left to give Him, but I gave my life to Jesus in my prison cell.”
DeLong, not yet a Reverend, got in the TROSA (Triangle Residential Options for Substance Abuse) Program, a two-year program, finished it, was released from prison, paroled, then accepted a call to preach the Gospel.
He said he got into a Carolina Scholar Program, which was an extension of the Nazarene Bible College (located in Colorado Springs, CO), received his District License in 2011, and was ordained in 2015.
“For two and a half years I interned under my dad, then became a full-time youth pastor at Concord Church of the Nazarene. I became the Senior Pastor of the Hickory Church of the Nazarene, which I held for six years. I was installed here as this church’s pastor on Oct. 25,” he said.
Glenn said he wasn’t sure who exactly was the first pastor of the small red brick church, but thought it might have been a Rev. Stamey.
Said Rev. DeLong, “The church started over on Jacobs Street in 1950, I believe.”
The church currently has roughly 20 to 25 congregants, noted Mr. Willis, and they meet on Wednesday nights and have a Sunday service at noon.
Rev. De Long said he and his wife Wendy have three children, ages 23, 20, and 16.
In addition to fulfilling the Great Commission of Matthew 28, Rev. DeLong said he wants to help people out of the walls they’ve built around themselves and point them outwardly.
“I want to lead them to the Healer. I want them to get to know the community in which they live and work and play, and I want us all to be able to help the homeless, the addicted, the abused, and to absolutely help families! That is what we are called to do as followers of Christ!” he said.
Rev. DeLong can be reached at his email at, or you can call the church at (704) 435-4450. The church is located at 300 W. 2nd St., Cherryville.
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Marine Dell Garren (second from left) with his Fire Team on board the troop carrier, U.S.S. Denver (LPD-9), en route to their overseas deployment. With Garren are fellow Marines Lance Corporal Mark Rafet; Lance Corporal Ernest Villareal; and Lance Corporal Barella (no first name available). (photos provided)

For military veteran Garren, being a Marine was and is a way of life

GARREN: “Veteran’s Day is a day all service men and women should be recognized and remembered for their service!”


Serving others and giving back to one’s country and community seems to be in the blood of the many men and women who have served, and still serve in America’s armed forces.
When their time of active service is up, for the most part those same vigilant servants tend to gravitate toward public service careers in either law enforcement or a continuation of their government service.
Such is the case with retired Cherryville Police Senior Patrol Officer Dell Garren.
Garren, 54, was a fresh-faced teenager of 17 when he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in August of 1984. He graduated from Cherryville High School in 1985, and on Dec. 2, of that year was sent to boot camp.
Garren, who, like many Americans, has a rich heritage of family members who also served their country, serving with such distinguished combat companies like the 82nd Airborne in WWII, or in Korea.
“My dad, Jack, was in the Navy for four years, then was in the Air Force for 18 years,” said Dell. His father passed away, he said, on Feb. 9, 2015.
Though some Marines describe themselves as “Retired Marines” Garren prefers to call himself a non-active duty Marine.
“I feel like you’re either an active duty Marine or a non-active duty Marine,” he said, adding, “once a Marine; always a Marine!”
Garren served with the 1st Battalion, 7th Marines, from 1985 until 1993, being sent to far-away places like Japan, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Korea and Okinawa.
In 1990, he said he re-enlisted in order to become an electrician and was with the 11th Marines. That service was with the First Services Support Group, or FSSG, and he was at Camp Pendleton then.
After five months in electricians school, Garren was transferred to MWSS (Marine Wing Support Squadron) 373, 3rd Marine Air Wing at El Toro, CA.
“I was stationed, during our various deployments, in the Far East, for the most part,” he noted, adding, “However, while in the Corps, we were with the 26th MEU (Marine Expeditionary Unit) in Panama during the operation to oust Gen. Manuel Noriega.
In November 1993, Garren’s time as an active duty Marine ended, and he came back to Cherryville. Prior to that, he had met and married the love of his life, Danielle (nee Yates) on Feb. 15, 1992, and they became the parents of two children, a daughter, Amanda, 27, who is currently CEO of the Nashville (TN) Angels organization, helping foster children. Son, Josh (21) is, like his sister, a graduate of Cherryville High School. He is majoring in Criminal Justice at Marshall University, said Dell.
Garren worked at Lazy Boy for a while, he said, then got on the Cherryville Police Force in 2004, retiring from there as a Senior Patrol Officer in January of this year (2020). He currently works for the Gaston County Sheriff’s Office, as of March 2020.
Some of Garren’s hobbies (past and present) are working out and staying as fit as he can, building military models, coaching football, teaching firearms training, and helping out with the Rapid Deployment/Active Shooter Training for law enforcement officers.
Fond memories for Garren as a Marine include serving on a Recon Team, being an MOS/Radio field operator, being selected to Marksmanship Instructor School (1987), and generally just being able to see the world.
Of the Marines (and law enforcement as well), Garren said, “It’s a true brotherhood. I would do it all over again – be in the Corps. I wouldn’t trade ANY of it!”
As for Veteran’s Day, which he noted is the day after the official birthday of the Marine Corps’ founding – Nov. 10, he said, “It (Veteran’s Day) is the one day that is set aside for the men and women of the American armed forces who have served and are still serving their country faithfully. On that day, on Veteran’s Day, EVERYONE gets recognition!”

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Chief Judge Chip Childers and poll worker Leslie Lopez check on the number of voters who have come in to the First Presbyterian Church polling place (Precinct 37) on Tuesday, Nov. 3. (photo by MEP/The Eagle/CF Media)

High voter turnout as Cherryville; Gaston County go ‘red’ for Trump, Republicans

All vote numbers unofficial until count is complete


In what has been described as the biggest voter turnout in recent American history or memory, the citizens of Cherryville, Gaston County, and the citizens of the entire United States turned out in record numbers to vote.
We are now into Election Day plus eight, and, as of this writing, it appears we may have a new President in the person of the projected winner, at least by electoral standards and numbers, in former VP Joe Biden.
However, not all the numbers are in and all is still unofficial in spite of which news/media agency or polling group calls it.
That said, Mr. Biden’s projected win status is, as we all knew it would be, being contested by President Donald J. Trump, his staff, and the GOP party in the handful of states that were razor-thin calls on the part of the mainstream national media and according to many conservative media outlets and polls.
Closer to home, and in addition to the obvious political races on the ballot, a “big ticket” item for the City of Cherryville was the vote on the bond referendum, essentially three items actually on the Tuesday, Nov. 3 ballot, all concerned with getting the voters of the city to have their say on three items: namely bonds for downtown improvement; bonds for water improvement; and bonds for sewer improvement.
With all three of Cherryville’s precincts reporting in, the numbers for the downtown improvement bonds was 1,612, or 56.23 percent for it versus 1,255, or 43.77 percent against the bond. That bond vote was a little closer than the remaining two; bonds for water system improvements, 2,139, or 73.89 percent for the bonds opposed to 736 (or 26.11 percent) against it. The bonds for the sewer system improvements was 2,140, or 74.02 percent, for said bonds as opposed to 751, or 25.98 percent, against the sewer bonds.
City of Cherryville City Manager/Fire Chief Jeff Cash said of the vote outcome, “We are elated with the election outcome. The bonds for water, sewer and downtown were all approved by the majority of our Cherryville voting citizens.
“We are also excited to get to work with the final drawings and bid work
or the  projects  to  begin.  If everything
falls in place as expected, we should begin to see activity with these projects in April or May (2021).”
Mr. Cash continued, “We thank the citizens for believing in our vision, goals and objectives. Our Mayor, City Council and staff have worked very hard on our vision. We are such a blessed community. Once again, thank you for your vote of confidence and your support.”
The three Cherryville precincts (35, 36, and 37) all reported higher than normal early voting, as was evidenced by the numerous printouts with early voter’s names on there. However, Chief Judges Chip Childers, Becky Wood, and Mark Moss all noted they and their staff’s stayed busy from the minute the polls opened until they closed.
Childers and his crew of Michelle Hoffman, Leslie Lopez, Sherri Hayes, Iris Walls, and Jeannie Kiser; Moss and his crew of Brenda Beam, Dana Sturgill, Berniece Harris, Judy McSwain, Sam Allen, and Grayson Eubanks; and Wood and her crew of Bess Thornburg, Suzette Smith, Dianne Jenkins, Chris Barnett, Ron Beam, Wendi Beam, Pam Abernathy, and David Whitesides all noted voter turnout as being “steady” for most of the morning, once again attributing the lower physical turnout to the way folks cast their ballots either through mail-in voting or by voting early, in Cherryville’s case, at the Cherryville Fire Department.
Said Childers, “This is the biggest turnout I’ve seen since the last (presidential) election. We have certainly had a large early voter turnout.”
Though Ms. Wood noted their voter numbers as of 6:30 a.m., election day morning (Nov. 3) have been slow getting started. However, she said, “Though it (the turnout) since that time has been a little slower than we usually have had in the past, it picked up and has been the biggest I’ve seen since so far.” As an example, she noted that of the roughly 1,400 registered voters in their precinct (#35), about 1,153 had voted early.
Moss, Chief Judge at the largest of Cherryville’s voting precincts (#36), said he believes over 60 percent of those registered in their precinct had voted early.
Said Moss, “Counting early voting, this is the largest turnout I’ve ever seen. An amazing number of first-time voters have come out and we’ve given many of them a short course on how the process works. That group has been a mix of young and old.”
Moss continued, “We have never seen an election like this. North Carolina has never been as crucial to the election process as we are this year.”
According to the Gaston County Board of Elections web site, as of Wednesday, Nov. 4, 100 percent of the county’s precincts reported in (46 of 46) and 75.26 percent of the ballots were cast (114,140 voters out of a total of 151,667), with (at that time) an unofficial number of 72,132 votes (63.39 percent) cast for President Trump and 40,231 (35.36 percent) cast for Joe Biden.
In the Governor’s race, Lt. Gov., and challenger Dan Forest did well in Gaston County (68,362, or 60.37 percent) to Current Gov. Roy Cooper’s 43,272 (or 38.21 percent) but Cooper managed to get re-elected.
Republicans fared well overall in Gaston County as Sen. Thom Tillis grabbed more than 60 percent of the votes in his run to stave off challenger Democrat Cal Cunningham. Rep. Virginia Foxx  had 62.99 percent of the votes (68,303) to defeat challenger David Wilson Brown for her seat. Mark Robinson, a Republican, won the seat of Lt. Gov., and will be the state’s first black Lt. Gov.
Other Republicans who fared well in the county, were Representatives John Torbett, Kelly Hastings, Dana Bumgardner, Sen. Kathy Harrington, and Sen. Ted Alexander.
Newcomer Donald Rice defeated Judge Richard Abernathy in the county to take a seat on the District Court bench. Judge Abernathy had been seated since 2007.
In other election news, Cherryville Commissioner Allen Fraley was re-elected by voters. Former Cherryville educator Beverly “Robbie” Lovelace defeated incumbent Cherryville Township board member Terry Usery for the right to represent the town at the school board meetings. In addition to defeating Mr. Usery, she also had the lead over Mr. Daniel Ware, who was running for the seat as well.
For more information on the unofficial election results please go the Gaston County Board of elections web site at