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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
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Last year the Toys for Tots items collected by the Cherryville Fire Department were picked up by their fellow firefighters from Gastonia. Cherryville Fire Department personnel, (retired) Capt. Wendell Poole (left) and Assistant Chief Jason Wofford (right) happily announced the three collection boxes were picked up Friday, Dec. 13, 2019. (file photo by MEP/The Eagle/CF Media)

2020 “Toys for Tots” campaign will look a little different due to COVID-19


Cherryville Assistant Fire Chief Jason Wofford said this year’s “Toys for Tots” campaign will look a little different due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“That’s true,” said AFC Wofford, stressing that their department is handling the ‘Toys for Tots’ Christmas toy drive a little different this year than in the past.
AFC Wofford said their department received an email from Chaplain Brad Hall, of the Gaston County Firefighters Association, which read (in part) as follows: “Last year we were able to help collect around 9,000 toys for 3,816 Gaston County children. This year the need is going to be even higher and due to the COVID pandemic, the 2020 Toys for Tots drive will be a little different.
“To keep our responders safe, the Gaston County Firefighters Association is not going to publicize any collections by our affiliated members or distribute boxes & yard signs.
“We do realize that citizens may drop off donations this year out of habit from years past. The decision of how to respond to this will be up to each department or agency.”
Chaplain Hall then noted two options for the departments regarding taking any toys: directing the givers to the website or any local donation boxes in the area; or receiving the donation at their respective stations and calling him, whereupon Chaplain Hall said he would get the donated toys and gifts picked up.
Chaplain Hall said in his email he has spoken to the local “Toys for Tots” director, who he said thanked the firefighters for their past participation and who fully understands that there is a great need to protect all responders from any unnecessary exposures to the coronavirus as they all work together to provide some Christmas joy for the needy children in Gaston County.
ASC Wofford said last year the CF was “…given boxes to accept donations of toys.”
He continued, “The ‘Toys for Tots’ folks came by and picked up the donations after the collection dates. The Cherryville Fire Department loves this program as we see many children who have the need to receive gifts during Christmas. We are also thankful to be part of a community who supports this type of charity fully.”
Captain Wofford noted that while they are not advertising for toys to be dropped off at the station house so as to limit exposure, they are advertising for folks to go to their website and make monetary donations.
Said AFC Wofford, “I believe they (the Gastonia Toys for Tots organization) have a system in place to purchase the needed toys once their fundraising is completed.”
As for how many toys were donated last year to CFD, Wofford noted, “Our community responded abundantly, and we overfilled two giant boxes of toys.”
From the Eagle article of last year (Dec. 13, 2019) CFD’s Administrative Assistant Brittany Bingham noted, “They (the Toys for Tots organizers for Gaston County’s fire departments) left us two boxes and we filled both of those. We also had enough toys in bags to fill up a third box.”
In that same article, AFC Wofford said he was, “very pleased” their department was able to do this “…and to have a part in making a child’s Christmas merrier.”
For those folks who do bring toys by, Jason said, “We urge people to make the monetary donations, but for those who deliver to the station, we will see that they are delivered to the ‘Toys for Tots’.”
He continued, “And, so far as monetary donations, anyone can visit this website, and select “donate local” and donate any amount they wish directly to the ‘Toys for Tots’ program. This is what we urge citizens to do if they would like to donate.”
For those who may have further related questions about helping out families and kids this Christmas, call the CFD at (704) 435-1730, or check with your local Cherryville charity organizations or churches.

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An International Express truck parked outside their former Lowell freight complex. (photos provided)

Warehousing, transportation logistics return to former Carolina Freight complex in Cherryville

A media release recently noted that International Express, with Corporate Headquarters located in Lowell, NC, has purchased the former Carolina Freight Complex in Cherryville.
This 70-acre complex, on Hwy. 150, houses seven buildings and will increase their capacity by over 300,000 square feet. The purchase was completed on Thursday, Oct. 15, 2020, according to the media release.
International Express is an asset-based carrier offering Warehousing, Logistics and Trucking Services with locations in Gastonia, and Charlotte; and in Atlanta, Georgia.
Their services include, warehouse storage, pick and pack, repackaging, distribution, U.S. Customs bonded warehouse services, full truckload, less than truckload, container drayage and final mile pick-up and delivery services.
Howard Shope, President and CEO said in the company’s media release, “Our plan is to renovate the site, returning it back to a functional transportation business park, while preserving some of history. We want to ensure Cherryville and Gaston County can once again be a transportation hub for the Domestic and International Logistics community.”
He continued, “The site will offer Regional Logistics Customers, and an Intermodal Logistic Business Park capable of supporting various transportation services needed within the geographical area.
“Carolina Freight did it right, plain, and simple. They were a ‘mecca’ in the freight world, and anyone that grew up here knows that. Trucking and logistics are in the blood of this community and we are very thankful to the community of Cherryville for the support they have offered.
“We are very appreciative of that and value it greatly. International Express looks forward to being a valued part of this great community”
On the business end of things, the sale was brokered by Doster Realty, John Doster, CCIM and John Barker Realty. Financing was provided by Select Bank, Alan Fletcher Senior Account Executive.
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Small Town Kitchen co-owners, Billy and George Kakavitsas (front, center, with scissors and holding ribbon) at their Oct. 14, ribbon cutting. With them were various City of Cherryville staff, Council, and Chamber of Commerce officials, as well as Chamber members and friends and employees. (photos provided)

Cherryville’s newest eatery,
Small Town Kitchen, now open

Sit-down style restaurant ideally located on busy Hwy. 150


Last week, co-owners and brothers Vasilios “Billy”, and Georgio “George” Kakavitsas cut a big red ribbon signifying they were soon to open their restaurant, “Small Town Kitchen”, in Cherryville. The “sit-down” style restaurant is ideally located on busy Hwy. 150.
The Kitchen formally opened its doors and began serving food on Tuesday, Oct. 20, and is located at 1011 E. Church Street.
Billy, 31, said the reason for choosing Cherryville as a place for a restaurant was simple; “The landlord, Jimmy Vikas, is our uncle.” Mr. Vikas owned the Milano’s restaurant that was previously in Cherryville, he added.
In addition to Billy and George being on hand for the Wednesday, Oct. 14, ribbon cutting, other City and Chamber staff, personnel and Chamber members were there as well, welcoming the new business to the community. George, 32, said they plan on having the restaurant open six days a week, with lunch and
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dinner being served Tuesdays through Fridays, from 10:30 a.m., to 9 p.m. On Saturday, he said they will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner from 7 a.m., until 9 p.m.
“On Sunday, we will serve breakfast and lunch from 7 a.m., until 3 p.m.,” he said.
Billy, who said he has been working and or managing restaurants for the past nine years, noted having their own restaurant has been their goal “…for a long time.”
As for serving alcohol, brother George said it is in the plans, and for the foreseeable future, the two have no plans to serve any hard liquor, only beer and wine.
The restaurant has 25-30 employees, said Billy, and is open for dining in or for carry out orders.
For more information, or for menu options, please call (704) 769-8153.
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Downtown Director David Day speaks at the recent J. Ralph Beam, Jr. Heritage Park Committee meeting at the Cherryville Community Building. Listening to him is HPC member Becky Ross. (photo by MEP/The Eagle)

City’s J. Ralph Beam, Jr.
Heritage Park getting a long overdue facelift


At a recent Heritage Park Committee meeting, the committee members discussed recent work being done on the old buildings by Mr. John Coley Houser, from Vale.
Chairperson Rita Beam noted a large donation was given by a note former Cherryville native to help with the work being done on the historical buildings by Project Manager Houser. Mrs. Beam noted Mr. Houser had submitted a plan to them for approval.
Members of the Heritage Park Committee are: Rita Beam, Chairperson; Mildred Beam Dail, Secretary; Hazelene Moss; Jack Bingham; Becky Ross; Councilman Jon Abernathy; and Cherryville Finance Director Dixie Wall.
“Jeff Cash, Cherryville City Manager/Fire Chief; and Brandon Abernathy, Cherryville Public Works Director, are the City liaisons to our committee,” said Mrs. Dail, who added that Mr. J. Coley Houser is the project manager.
“Mr. Houser is a knowledgeable parks, recreation, and tourist consultant,” she noted.
Mr. Houser noted, via email, that he was contacted about the old buildings at the park by Mr. Brandon Abernathy.
“Brandon Abernathy, with the City, approached Dr. Bob Hart, of Hart Square Village in Vale about how to go about restoration of the buildings.
“At the time I was working for the foundation he established to care for his village consisting of 100-plus log cabins, etc. He mentioned that the city was seeking someone to do the restoration and I was looking to begin a consulting business specializing in historical restoration. The timing was perfect and I jumped at the opportunity.”
Troop 323 Eagle Scout
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candidate and CHS senior, Colton Godfrey, was present to speak to the committee about what his Eagle project will do to help beautify the park as well.
Godfrey noted his project – which is to redo the grounds of the park – was approved by his Scoutmaster. He also noted the project is on a timetable and, according to him, must be finished in three months, from the time he is able to actually start on the project proper.
Mr. Godfrey noted he will turn 18 in December and because of the COVID-19 pandemic, has received a three-month extension because of that.
In speaking to the committee, Godfrey said, “I have been told by some nurseries they are willing to donate materials to me for my project.”
City Manager Cash noted, that for the City’s part, they want for the park to be as maintenance-free as is possible, at least from the City’s standpoint, as allotting manpower to work on it may be hard to implement, as their staff may be needed elsewhere to work on other projects.
Downtown Director David Day, of the Cherryville Chamber of Commerce, spoke about Main Street’s main focus right now, which is the upcoming bond referendum, as well as future holiday projects. He talked with the committee about the possibility of getting more information on the Internet about Heritage Park than what is currently there.
As a bit of history and background, Mrs. Dail noted in an email/media release, “As you may recall, the park was opened in 1993. It was a longtime dream of my brother, J. Ralph Beam, Jr. and his wife, Rita M. Beam.
“Before and during this completion of the park they gave much time, historical artifacts and monetary contributions.
“There were many local people who contributed to the opening of the park, including Von Eva Allan and Ruth Anthony, who were daughters of the Ben Black family.”
She continued, “The City of Cherryville made many additional contributions.”
Mrs. Dail said a list of the contributors is displayed in the school house.
She also noted that throughout the years the Cherryville Garden Club has planted and helped maintain the grounds of the park, along with the Cherryville Public Works Department.
Mrs. Dail continued, “During these many years the park has been a source of education and pride for surrounding citizens as well for visitors from many areas. Many pictures are made in the park celebrating various occasions.”
She noted since its opening Mrs. Rita Beam has been dedicated to as well, as loyal to, the purpose of Heritage Park.
Said Mrs. Dail, “She and those assisting her have given educational and entertaining programs to as many as 800 students per year (before the onset of the coronavirus pandemic).
“Often dressed in period clothes, they would present programs depicting life and culture in much earlier days. Stories were told by Mrs. Beam along with an occasional meal served in the pioneer style to the attendees.”
The committee and its members know that after 27 years Heritage Park has been needing some renovations in order for it to be preserved.
Mrs. Dail continued, “Realizing the condition of the old log buildings, Mrs. Beam knew work was needed for it to continue to be a historical, educational place of interest and pride for the City of Cherryville, its residents and neighbors.
“Therefore, private funds were solicited to restore and preserve this valuable community asset. A very large donation – along with other donations – enabled the project to be started.”
It should be noted the project is not connected with The Cherryville Main Street Project, thus a committee was formed to lead the Heritage Park Project.
Mrs. Dail said, “Realizing all the expertise, dedication and devotion Rita has given throughout the park’s planning and completion, the group voted her as their chairperson.”
It was noted the Heritage Park Committee meets monthly in one of the City’s facilities.
J. Ralph Beam, Jr. Heritage Park is located behind the Cherryville Chamber of Commerce building, just off Main St., at 102 S. Jacob Street.
For more information about the park call the Cherryville Chamber of Commerce at (704) 435-3451, or visit Cherryville’s web site at
Cameraman Scott Clinton, of Blackbox Studios starts filming a scene for the Franklin Lowry movie “Charles Sloan” in downtown Cherryville, in front of Home Folk’s Café, as actor Mark Costello starts in motion. (photo by MEP/The Eagle/CF Media)

Charlotte-based crew shoots movie scenes in Cherryville

Movie, “Charles Sloan” written, directed by Huntersville native


Folks driving down Main Street on Monday, Sept. 28, probably noticed what looked like a mini-Hollywood movie set and its crew shooting footage on Main Street.
If so, they wouldn’t be far from wrong as that was exactly what was happening.
Writer, director, and producer Franklin Michael Lowry and a crew from Scott Clinton Photography, based out Charlotte, NC, and New York, NY, were shooting scenes for an upcoming movie, tentatively titled, “Charles Sloan”, in front of Home Folks’ Café, as well as up and down the block in general. Mr. Clinton is the Director of Photography, editor, and one of the producers for the film.
The crew and Mr. Lowry also shot some footage in Kings Mountain, according to the Chamber’s Mary Beth Tackett.
In addition to “Charles Sloan”, Mr. Lowry and Mr. Clinton collaborated on two short films, “Permanence”, and “The Black”, both shot in 2019.
Playing the part of the character “Charles Sloan,” is veteran character actor, Mark Costello. Costello was also in the film “Permanence”, noted Mr. Lowry.
Costello, a St. Louis, MO, native, has been, according to his web site, acting for 28 years, and has appeared not only in the previously mentioned Lowry film, “Permanence”, but has also appeared in numerous television dramas and soap operas, as well as many syndicated dramas and theatrical productions.
Movie director and writer, Franklin Lowry took a few minutes out of his busy shooting schedule to talk with the Eagle about the movie and his art.
Said Mr. Lowry, “I worked on movies in Louisiana before moving to Los Angeles in 2007. I moved back to Louisiana and worked on movies in 2008 and 2009 to take a job in DC.”
Lowry, 37, is married and has a child. He has a bachelor’s degree as well as two graduate degrees, he said. He now lives in Huntersville, N.C.
The movie, “Charles Sloan”, is a fictional drama. Also, according to Lowry (and the movie’s Facebook page), it is about a terminally ill man, Sloan (played by veteran actor, Mark Costello), who has spent many years in prison and has been “…compassionately released from prison,” and who wishes to “…navigate through his remaining days trying to reconnect with his estranged son,” who we learn is “Charles, Jr.”
Said Lowry, “I found Mark in Atlanta, GA. He’s legit. We have several North Carolina actors in the film, and most of our film crew is also from North Carolina.”
Lowry also noted he has several other scripts in the works, and has written a feature tentatively titled, “The Cherry Blossom King”, which he said will be set in Cherryville.
The movie, “Charles Sloan”, has an IMDb page listing in addition to their Facebook page at
As for a timetable for completion and a release date for the movie, Mr. Lowry said to keep watching the Facebook page where more information is entered as they complete shooting scenes.
Scott Clinton Photography can be found at

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Standing under the mural for the “CHS Kindness Club” are its creator, Junior, Landrie Wofford (second from left) and Club co-founder, Senior Ben Hayes (third from left). With them are two Cherryville Walmart representatives, Assistant Manager Elizabeth King (far left), and Customer Service representative, Haley Clayton (far right). (photo by MEP/The Eagle/CF Media)

New Kindness Club program created to impact local schools; community

Club’s message is “Spread kindness,
not germs!”


Two CHS students are out to prove the old saying that “a little kindness” goes a long way”, by forming a club that does just that.
Senior Ben Hayes and Junior Landrie Wofford said recently the “Kindness Club” is a program that “…encourages students and our community to be kind to everyone through random acts of kindness.”
Hayes, a son of Jeff and Alison Hayes, and Junior, Landrie Wofford, a daughter of Jason and Danielle Wofford all of Cherryville, noted they started working on the project this past spring.
“We started working to raise funds and plan the idea for this needed
program,” said Ben, adding, “(CHS) Principal  Mr.
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 Kevin Doran and other faculty helped finalize plans for this program to make an impact on this community during these uncertain times. Ideas and the basis of this program was associated with resources and support from National Kindness Organizations for schools, such as ‘Random Acts of Kindness’, ‘National Bullying Prevention Center’, and ‘Kindness Evolution’.”
The duo received a $700 grant from Walmart to help spread the program’s message around Cherryville.
Walmart representatives, Assistant Manager Elizabeth King and Customer Service representative Haley Clayton came by CHS on Oct. 14, to see some of the posters and artwork created for the Kindness Project. They were representing Walmart manager Robert Kendrick, who sent a message through King, who said, “Mr. Kendrick said Walmart continues to help the Cherryville community in whatever way we can.” King and Clayton agree that anything that helps stop bullying is a good thing in which to be involved.
Besides receiving money from family and community members, Landrie and Ben noted that all funds received so far were used to purchase awareness posters and banners that are displayed at Cherryville High School.
“These funds were given to support funds needed for supplies for community service outreach,” said Ben. “We individually chose quotes for restroom stall doors, certain areas of the schools and for Rudisill Stadium and Nixon Gym. A variety of positive reminder messages have been displayed throughout the school, including each restroom stall door.
“These messages were individually chosen and approved by Mr. Doran. Artist James Lail of Cherryville Graphics also helped us design unique posters and banners that would be original and gender specific.”
Additionally, a wall mural was painted by Landrie, who is quite an accomplished artist, Ben noted, adding that “…more murals will be completed displaying, positive uplifting messages throughout the school year to promote this kindness program and club.”
Landrie said additional fundraisers are needed to help raise funds to allow for additional resources at CHS and for the other three Cherryville schools, who have all agreed to implement this program.
Said Ms. Wofford, “Each school will cost approximately $1,000 for posters, resources, and banners. Starting this program at Cherryville Elementary will allow students the ability to start spreading kindness through positive messages that will hopefully carry them through their high school years and life.
“Elementary students will be participating in fun school activities to encourage anti-bullying behaviors. Papers will be sent home with each student to discuss with their parents and complete a random ‘Act of Kindness Bingo.’ Students are also encouraged to sign the kindness pledge that will be displayed at the school on a banner.”
Wofford continued, “John Chavis Middle School will also participate with school activities and display an anti-bullying paper link that will be visible for all students throughout the school year.
“This will be an activity that will allow students to write positive messages on strips of paper that will be linked together as a ‘unity’ chain.”
The role of advisors and mentors in this have been taken on by CHS teachers, Mr. Lance Holt, Ms. Chloe Holt, and Mr. A.J. Hayes.
Ben said, “Each individual school will work on this and will have a group of students to implement monthly activities to share kindness among all students.”
Wofford and Hayes noted the Kindness Club is a national organization that hopes to help all students and teachers to be “lifted up” during this difficult time all are facing in the world today due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Some possible future examples of activities planned by the club include supporting National “Unity Day” on Oct. 21, which is part of the National Anti-Bullying Organization to promote unity among all students.
In a media release, the two CHS students noted the National Unity Day motto is to “choose kindness, provide acceptance and give inclusion!”
Hayes and Wofford both said, “All students will be participating in a kindness week of activities on their respective cohort A/B days across all schools, which will include a crazy sock, hat and wearing orange day during the week of Oct. 19, through 23.
“Orange is the national color for anti-bullying. Other activities that this club will support are community service projects, school clean up days and other ‘random acts of kindness’ initiatives for teachers and students. Each month, the club will choose initiatives that will positively make an impact on our schools and community.
“’Cherryville Strong’ tee-shirts will be available to be pre-ordered through Oct. 30, for anyone who would like to purchase one.”
The duo also noted that other community businesses have agreed to participate in this community-wide project, like Cherryville’s Home Folk’s Restaurant.
Ben said their club will be printing labels for the restaurant to help with their ongoing kindness initiative, created by co-owner Janet Long, to display positive messages on their take-out boxes. Other community businesses have also agreed to share awareness by displaying banners for this program and take kindness initiatives with their customers as part of this program, he added.
The goal of this program is to encourage everyone to focus on positive thoughts and actions within themselves and to encourage positive support to other peers. A big part of this program is to ensure that students always feel included, safe, and encouraged to be their own unique self. As Dr. Seuss once stated, “Why fit in, when you are born to stand out?”
The idea, while simple enough, is far-seeing, and looks to have a wide reach.
Said Wofford, “This program’s mission and hope is to spread kindness and positivity one person at a time. One way to make a difference today is to remember that saying just one kind word can change someone’s entire day!
“In today’s world, there is so much focus on politics and germs, let us also focus on spreading kindness too!”
Hayes and Wofford noted a bank account will be started to assist with this program.
They said, “If you would like to donate, please contact Assistant Fire Chief Jason Wofford, at (704) 435-1730, or one of the club’s advisors, who can be reached through Cherryville High School, at (704) 836-9605.
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Medical Assisting graduate Crystal Bridges proudly shows off her pin and certificate of recognition to her daughter Savanna Bridges following the pinning ceremony at Gaston College.

Pinning ceremony honors Gaston College Medical Assisting students September 17

Cherryville’s Addison E. Pruitt among 14 MA’s honored

DALLAS, N.C. – A pinning ceremony on Sept. 17, honored 12 graduates of the Gaston College Medical Assisting program. The ceremony was held on a drive-through basis due to COVID-19 social distancing guidelines. As is traditional in health care programs, the graduates received a pin, to be worn on their uniforms, that signifies the completion of the requirements for the Associate in Applied Science Degree in Medical Assisting. The 12 AAS degree students are: Jennifer Coffey and Jesus Gonzalez from Lincolnton; Cathrine Cozad, Brittani Maney, Faith Rankin, Takeia Reid, and Kaitlyn Windham from Gastonia; Kaitlyn Greason from Kings Mountain; Jessica Lane from Bessemer City; Lauren Robison from Belmont; and Harlie Graham and Dara Williams from Dallas.
Nine of the 12 AAS have successfully taken the American Association of Medical Assistants certification exam and have earned their CMA (AAMA) credential. Seven of the 12 students have accepted jobs.
“Our pinning ceremony is a symbolic welcoming of graduates into the medical assisting profession,” said Dena Bridges, Program Chair for Medical Assisting and Phlebotomy. “When people ask, ‘What is a Medical Assistant?’ I am always happy to tell them that this multi-skilled person is one who is cross trained for all areas of a physician’s office practice. MAs can run the front office, schedule appointments, code insurance, and can assist the physician with examinations and minor surgery and also know how to do a variety of laboratory procedures. The Medical Assistant is the most versatile member of the allied health team.”
Graduate Dara Williams, who was awarded a $500 scholarship from the Gaston County Chapter of Medical Assistants in 2019, is the second Gaston College MA student in five years to achieve a perfect score on her exam.
“I pushed myself hard to excel in this program,” said Williams, “but honestly I was surprised I got a perfect score in the exam. I consider myself lucky to have the love and support of my daughter and my fiancé. I couldn’t have done it without them or the support of my friends and classmates, and I thank all my instructors and others at Gaston College, like Peggy Grigg, secretary in the Health and Human Services division, for everything they did for me. Special thanks to Melanie Skinner, Chair of the Veterinary Medical Technology department, and Kelly Vass, Instructor of Nutrition and Dietetic Programs. Although I wasn’t one of their students, they always had a kind word of encouragement for me.”
Williams will be working at CaroMont Podiatry.
“I hope to have a long and happy career with CaroMont and may possibly continue my education later, but I look forward to working as a CMA (AAMA),” she said.
In addition to the AAS graduates, 14 Medical Assisting students who completed the first diploma program were also honored at the ceremony. They will receive their diploma degrees in October 2020. The diploma students are: Skylar B. Blalock and Crystal L. Bridges from Dallas; Alicia B. Conard from Shelby; Lisa S. Crawford, Morgan T. Holt, Latasha Moore Smith, and Janith L. Scott from Gastonia; Deepti Devabhaktuni from Belmont; Mary S. Johnson from Alexis; Savannah D. Pitchford from Charlotte; Addison E. Pruitt from Cherryville; Keisa Washington-Cruz from Iron Station; Brandy M. Weaver from Lincolnton; and Cierra J. Wilson from Bessemer City.
The diploma MA students will begin taking the AAMA certification exam in October, and several have received job offers. Five of the 14 students finished with a 4.0 GPA. In recognition of their hard work, the Gaston County Chapter of Medical Assistants will pay the exam fees for Janith Scott, Lisa Crawford, Deepti Devabhaktuni, and Keisha Washington-Cruz, who is the recipient of the chapter’s $500 scholarship for 2020. Mary Johnson’s exam fee will be paid by an outside source.
The Gaston College Medical Assistant program has been ranked by as the third best in North Carolina. Rankings are based on the site’s Editorial Staff ratings, graduation rate, average net price, admission rate, full-time retention rate, and total number of students enrolled in the program.
The Gaston College MA program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Allied Health Education Programs. Graduates of the program qualify to take the AAMA certification examination to become a Certified Medical Assistant.
For more information on the Gaston College Medical Assisting program, call (704) 922-2274.
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Cherryville educator/author Sadie Allran Broome in action, doing what she loves – having fun and a good laugh! (photo provided)

Local teacher authors humorous fictional memoir

“Sick & Twisted in Savannah: Memoirs…”
a thin volume, but a great read


What do you do when you’re bursting at the seams with a really great story to tell that is, on one hand, as real as it gets about your real job, but on the other hand, also spins off into the realm of juicy and gossipy (and sometimes VERY bizarre)?
Well, duh! You write it as a fictionalized version of what transpired, of course!
That’s exactly what Cherryville native and longtime educator Sadie Allran Broome has done with her book, “Sick & Twisted in Savannah: Memoirs of the Victory Street Irregulars”. The book is published by Gatekeeper Press, of Columbus, Ohio (
Broome, who has, according to her “bio” on the back cover of her book, taught “students with disabilities for over 40 years,” has also co-authored three books on teaching character in elementary, middle, and teenage years. Additionally, the blurb acknowledges she has been a “teacher of the Year” both in Gaston County, N.C., as well as Bibb County, Georgia.
Along with her many writing and teaching accolades, Mrs. Broome is the recipient
See TEACHER, Page 9
From Page 1
of the Cardinal Award and is an Order of the Long Leaf Pine recipient as well.
She and her husband, Dennis, live in Cherryville and she is a “proud mother and grandmother”, as her “bio” exclaims.
Broome noted the book’s story covers the fictional Victory Street School in Savannah, GA, which (as the back cover noted) “…had a number of vacancies. Six teachers were hired from various spots around the country. These teachers found themselves in a difficult teaching situation. They bonded and proceeded to have numerous adventures with humorous, lewd shenanigans throughout Savannah. This is their story.”
Broome delved deeper into the story, elaborating, “The time in Savannah was such a bonding experience for us teachers in a difficult situation.
“We got together regularly afterwards even though we are scattered across the country. We would retell stories and I was like the archiver. Then it just seemed that writing a fictional account would be amusing and might make others laugh.”
When asked what parts of the small book were “true” and what parts weren’t, Sadie said, “I am keeping the ‘true’ aspect under wraps. Yes, it is a fictional account with broad changes to the main characters, but (it is) based on our unique teaching experience and sick and sometimes twisted shenanigans. The names have been changed to protect the GUILTY!”
Mrs. Broome said the six teachers and friends still keep in touch regularly with texts and emails, and thought they could not have their reunion this year due to COVID-19, they are meeting monthly via Zoom.
Sadie continued on how the book came together, “Well, it has been 20 years since the Savannah experience but me and my friends just told stories and added in stories at each reunion. We met about every five years but were also together for weddings, funerals, and such.
“I started with an outline based on the months of the year and then would flesh out each chapter. Then I would email it out to the others for their additions, deletions, laughs, and such. I got really serious about the writing the last two years.
“As I did a chapter, it went into the computer and edits were added. At our last reunion last year in Asheville, N.C., we went over the whole book and laughed a lot. Then ‘Berkley Vera’ helped with a major edit and then it was ready for the publishing company in January.
“We had big ideas of book signings in each of their varied locations and of course, a big splash in Savannah, but alas, COVID-19 came along. Now, I can’t even do a book signing in Cherryville!
“I do think that making people laugh during this difficult time has been a plus. So, it is a ‘yin and yang’ sort of thing; bitter and sweet, like that.”
As for advice to young or future authors, Broome had this to say, “Everyone has a story or thoughts on topics that would be of great value to others. I would suggest that people keep notes, write notes, keep a journal, and then just start to write. It is truly a joy to share one’s experiences.”
Sadie is selling the book and has sold 150 copies so far. She noted she is, “so thankful to Carpenter’s Gifts and Victoria Cole in Cherryville (both businesses on Main Street) for carrying the book for those who do not ‘do’, or get on Amazon.”
Said Sadie,” I especially appreciate those who have taken time to put a review in Amazon for me or in Good Reads. Maybe this will help spread the word and the laughs.”
Broome said for her fans looking for more from the pen of Mrs. Broome, not to worry.
“I am starting on the second book, ‘Mischief in Macon’!” she said.
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Henry and Gloria Chapman (center right) cut the red ribbon at their store at 124 E. Main St., Cherryville, The Rusty Wagon Wheel, as family, friends, and a host of Cherryville City, Chamber, and CMSP officials look on. (photo by MEP/The Cherryville Eagle/CF Media)

Main Street’s newest store occupieshistoric Roy and Troy Grocery building

First-time owners/operators Gloria and Henry Chapman cut ribbon on new
downtown business


Being able to open their own bricks and mortar business, The Rusty Wagon Wheel, is a dream come true for Gloria and Henry Chapman, of Cherryville.
The Rusty Wagon Wheel, in addition to being a store for Gloria to market her own items and craft/art pieces, will be a place where other artisans and vendors can rent booth space from the Chapman’s in order to sell their own creations and craft/art items.
The young couple had a presence on Facebook and were known in Charlotte for work they had done for the Farmer’s Market there, but to be able to have an established store out of which Gloria could sell her artistic furniture items and such, as well as having a place with booth space they could rent out to like-minded artisans was right up their proverbial rustic artwork-themed alley.
The couple officially opened with a Chamber-sponsored ribbon cutting on Friday, Sept. 18, as family, friends, and Cherryville City and Chamber and Main Street officials attended and welcomed them to the community “Where Life Blossoms!”
Henry Chapman, a Navy veteran (Iraq and Syria anti-terrorism conflicts) and 22-year Charlotte City Police Officer, said he and his wife had the idea in their minds of owning and operating their own business now for “about four years”.
“This   (business)  is  a long-time dream we’ve been waiting to happen,” he said.
The couple, originally from Marion, N.C., now call Cherryville home, and have for the past two years, said Henry. The couple have two children; twins Rocky and Lyra, both 4.
Henry said of his wife, Gloria, “She loves arts and crafts, and is very good at what she creates. Also, we felt this would be a good business venture.”
The couple noted their desire for what they do came about quite by accident as one day, while shopping for a hall tree for their home, the prices were a bot more than they wanted to spend, in addition to not really being able to find exactly what they wanted.
“So,” said Gloria, “we decided to make our own!”
She continued, “I’ve always wanted to create usable items and place them in people’s homes. And, I love what I do and being able to create what I love is a big plus!”
Chamber Board President Pete Craft welcomed the couple and their family to Cherryville on behalf of the Chamber of Commerce.
“This is a nice turnout and it’s great to see another business start up in downtown Cherryville!” said Craft.
Mayor H.L. Beam, III echoed Mr. Craft, adding, “On behalf of our City staff and our City Council, we want to welcome The Rusty Wagon Wheel here.” Councilwoman Jill Parker-Puett agreed, extending a welcome, also on behalf of the City Council, to “historic downtown Cherryville, where business and life blossoms. We hope it blossoms for you!” Mrs. Parker-Puett added that if she or any of the council can be of any assistance to the Chapman’s, for them not to hesitate to call upon them.
Cherryville Main Street Program Director Donna Beringer extended her welcome from CMSP, reiterating what Mayor Beam said, and adding, “We are thankful you chose Cherryville as a place in which to open your business.”
Mr. Craft also talked about the history of the building The Rusty Wagon Wheel occupied – 124 E. Main St., a.k.a. the old Roy and Troy Grocery Store, then a beauty shop, noting it is “a rich history.”
The couple spoke with Henry leading off by saying, “We thank the Lord we can be a part of the City of Cherryville,” followed by Gloria adding, “Thanks for all you’ve done to help us get going, and an especial thanks to Vickie Spurling; the building is PERFECT! Thanks again to all of you who came out for this.”
Gloria said they are open Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m., to 5 p.m.; Saturdays from 10 a.m., to 6 p.m., and are closed Sundays and Mondays.
She recently noted that business has been good since the Monday opening and that they still have booth spaces for rent and also space to rent for shelving on which to place and sell items.
For more information, or to check them out, call (704) 802-4371, or go to their Facebook page at FB@TheRustyWagonWheel. You can also email them at

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Carolyn Sanders

CHS’ Sanders selected to be a 2020-21 Khan Academy Ambassador

Gaston County Schools notes she also teaches math with the Gaston Virtual


In a recent media release, Gaston County Schools announced that educator Carolyn Sanders is a Khan Academy Ambassador for the ‘20-21 school year.
The Khan Academy is described as “a nonprofit with a mission to provide a free, world-class education to anyone, anywhere.”
Ms. Sanders is a 9th grade math and science teacher at Cherryville High School. Additionally, she currently teaches math with Gaston Virtual Academy.
Khan Academy officials, in a media release of their own, noted Ms. Sanders uses Khan Academy “…to personalize learning by using our mastery system that gives instant feedback and recommendations on exactly which skills to practice next.”
CHS Principal Kevin Doran, has high praise for Ms. Sanders and her work.
“We are so proud that Carolyn Sanders was selected by Khan Academy to be an ambassador,” he said, adding, “She exemplifies the dedication and creativity we see in our teaching staff here at Gaston County Schools. Students in Ms. Sanders’ class know she has high expectations and gives them plenty of support – so they truly master skills, and learn how to learn.”
Khan Academy officials said in their release, their “Ambassadors are ambitious, energetic, and knowledgeable educators who are experts in using Khan Academy within a classroom context.”
Furthermore, it is noted, “They believe deeply in our mission and are ready to super-charge student practice at Khan Academy throughout their school and community during the 2020-2021 school year.”
Stephanie Yamkovenko, Ambassador Program Leader at Khan Academy said, “We are really grateful for our Ambassadors, especially this year, as a lot of teachers, parents, and students are struggling to figure out how to make distance learning work.
“Khan Academy is in a position where we are creating the tools that can be a part of the solution. Teachers are going to need help to understand how to use Khan Academy in their classroom, and the best people to help them are superhero educators like our Ambassadors.”
Ms. Sanders said she learned about Khan Academy earlier while teaching another grade level.
“I learned about (the all-virtual) Khan Academy (program) while teaching seventh grade math at John Chavis Middle,” she said.
She continued, “I have used their program ever since to remediate, enrich, and support my math classroom teaching. It is a perfect fit for virtual learning with today’s global pandemic. Students can access videos, practice, and (get) articles from anywhere.
“Khan Academy is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing a free, world-class education for anyone, anywhere. They offer a standards-aligned content that teachers can assign and track student progress. They also offer many other content areas such as science, economics, and more.”
And when it comes to helping her students, no one is more energetic and ‘all-in’ than Ms. Sanders when it comes to her students.
“Does it help? Yes, it absolutely helps when used weekly. I receive weekly reports on the number of questions answered correctly and standards mastery,” she said.
Sanders noted NC DPI supports Khan Academy and has placed it on NCEdCloud under the Clever section.
She added, “Many teachers throughout our world use Khan Academy. I one-hundred percent recommend Khan Academy and I will continue to use it with my students!”
Of the program, she said, “As an Ambassador I will assist other teachers, administrators, parents and students on the use of Khan Academy. A simple email will get the process started. This can be done virtually for now but in the future (hopefully) I can reach out in person.”  

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Butch Boyd, Sandy Homesley, and Debbie Lesenger stand outside the Cherryville Family YMCA, which is now open, but still at a limited capacity, during Gov. Cooper’s Phase 2.5 scenario. (photo by MEP/The Eagle)

Cherryville Family YMCA open to all members again

“Phase 2.5” of Gov. Cooper’s reopening not just for those having to have medical release


It’s official. Cherryville Family YMCA members can now come back to their beloved YMCA without having to have a medical release.
YMCA Administrative Coordinator Butch Boyd, and Member Services representatives Sandy Homesley and Debbie Lesenger, along with a handful of employees, are all back, providing Y members with the same excellent service and attention for which the organization is known.
Of their return, Boyd said, “Debbie is back opening in the mornings (7 to 11 a.m.), and Sandy and I come in around 9 a.m., and work until about 3 p.m. (Employees) Amy or Ryan work from 4 to 7 p.m., but these are only employees working at this time.
“Our Child Watch is currently still closed so those staff members are not working yet. As our hours change, we will be bringing back more staff.”
Boyd continued, “We are all so happy to be back at work! We loved seeing those that came back under the medical program and are now even happier to see all our members that chose to come back. It’s so good to see our members that we have not seen in five or six months. They feel the same.”
As for staff and members’ safety, Mr. Boyd added, “We’re really not worried about anything. We are following the CDC requirements as well as (Y) Corporation requirements. Social distancing is still part of the CDC requirements and we are still following them, and our staff are wearing masks. However, members are not required to wear masks, unless they gather around to talk.”
Butch noted the hours are the same as when the medical program started (August): 7 a.m. to 1 p.m., Monday – Thursday; closed from 1 to 4 p.m., to clean; then back open from 4 to 7 p.m.
“On Friday we open at 7 a.m., and close at 2 p.m.; we’re open on Saturday at 7 a.m., and close at 2 p.m.; and we are closed on Sunday,” he said, adding the difference is that now their members or new members do not need a doctor’s note to be there.
Boyd said their ‘Silver Sneakers’ program is back up and meeting Monday and Wednesday’s down at the Ballard Park pool outside.
Said Boyd, “Myra’s class is also meeting down at the pool. Her classes are Monday and Wednesday at 5:30 p.m.
“We are not going to be offering soccer this fall and not sure about gymnastics at this time. Also, there are no new programs at this time. Our ‘Happier Hour’ group will meet Oct. 13, for the first time since the Governor is allowing 25 or more to meet, but social distancing is still in place. We will have pickups and Bingo, but no lunch like we are used to having.”
The staff of the Cherryville Family YMCA are just waiting, they said, on the Governor to open “Phase 3”, and hoping that will be 100 percent capacity, like before.
Member services’ Sandy Homesley said, “We are so excited to be back and our members feel the same! We all just can’t wait to open at full capacity! We don’t have any concerns now; just working and cleaning to keep everyone safe.”
Sandy, like Butch, noted their social distancing rules are the same.
“We work hard to keep it safe for our members,” she said.
Regarding Myra’s classes at the pool and in the aerobic room, Sandy said that capacity is 11.
Mrs. Homesley noted the importance of working out by saying, “It is so important to work out for our mental and physical health! We want the ‘Y’ to be a safe and welcome place for our members! We strive to make it that way because we love what the ‘Y’ does for our Cherryville community!”
Deb Lesenger’s, also of Member Services, said of the 2.5 Phase services, “It is different in that all members can come in to work out versus only those with a medical release form. The number of people did not change.”
She noted that all current employees can return to work if they feel comfortable.
“So far it is only Butch, Sandy, and me on the morning shift, with Amy Butler on afternoons and Saturdays, and Bridget Booth on evenings and Saturdays.”
Lesenger said the overall feeling for the Y workers is one of relief.
“I enjoy the members that come in, in the morning. We care about each other and have missed seeing each other. I have had no reservations about coming back,” she said.
For Lesenger, being away from the ‘Y’ became a personal thing for her, but on a larger scale, she worried for those who couldn’t get back to some form of physical working out on a larger scale.
“Being able to exercise is not only beneficial for our bodies,” said Debbie, “but also for our minds and overall well-being. For a lot of our members the ‘Y’ is not only a place to exercise, it is a place to connect with others.”
For more information about the Cherryville YMCA, call (704) 445-9622, or visit them at
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Cherryville Fire Chief and City Manager Jeff Cash welcomes everyone to the 19th Sept. 11th Remembrance Ceremony, held on Friday, Sept. 11, at 9 a.m., at the CFD Station House. (photo by MEP/CF Media)

Nineteenth Annual 9/11
Remembrance Ceremony

CFD; City of Cherryville: The call to all us is to “Never Forget!”


The 19th Annual Cherryville Fire Department’s Sept. 11th Remembrance Ceremony, held last Friday, Sept. 11, like the original day of the terrifying spectacle, was held on a beautiful late Summer, early Fall, blue sky day.
The passion is still there for the many, many victims, but over the years it seems less and less people appear to remember the fallen.
Such was the case last Friday at the CFD’s ceremony to honor the fallen heroes of that horrible day and its aftermath. Even though America is in the grip of the COVID-19 pandemic, with its social distancing rules and regulations in place, the crowd was painfully small compared to similar ceremonies just a few years back.
As he spoke, welcoming everyone who was able to make it out, Fire Chief Jeff Cash said the day will always be a day of remembrance for him, his family, and his CFD staff. It’s a personal promise in action from him to make sure that none of us in Cherryville ever forget that horrible day in 2001.
On that Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2019 at 9 a.m., the world as we know it changed forever.
Chief Cash said, “We memorialize this event every year. I was very privileged to have been a part of a group of North Carolina firefighters who took $750,000 in donations we raised and five vans up to New York for our fellow fire services brethren up there,” he said.
After a call to attention by CFD Capt. Nathan Bowman, and the “Pledge of Allegiance”, led by Cherryville Police Chief Cam Jenks, the Cherryville Chamber’s director David Day sang the “National Anthem”.
As was dictated by NC Gov. Roy Cooper. Capt. Bowman then stepped forward and lowered the flags to half staff in honor and memory of the thousands of lives lost that day.
In remembrance of the firefighting brotherhood, Chief Cash recounted how he and a select few other firefighters later traveled to New York and were able to be on a bridge near the site when seven sets of human remains were found by searchers.
Chief Cash has, in past ceremonies, recounted the occasion by saying, “…(It) was a somber occasion and one I will never forget. All of us on the bridge stood in silent reverence as the remains were moved and escorted by the NYFD and the NYPD to another place where they would be kept until the families could be notified.”
He continued, “That day, all told, 343 NYFD firefighters; 27 NYPD officers; 37 New York Port Authority officers; and over 2,600 civilians died when the Twin Towers crashed.”
Cash continued, “It bothers me today that then, our country came together as one. We have done this every year but it seems every year the crowd gets smaller and smaller. Lives are still being lost to illness caused by the cleanup of the hazardous materials and debris, but God is in control!”
Police Chief Cam Jenks noted that 10 different agencies had members who died that day with more still dying as a result of contracting illness from the dust and debris from the fall of the towers.
“The officers and firemen paid the ultimate price, as did the many innocent civilians who died that day. Our duty is to every year, honor their sacrifice,” he said.
Mayor Beam spoke next, noting there were some students who  were not even born when the event happened, who were viewing the ceremony by live streaming it.
“We’re here today to honor the 3,000 innocent dead. I saw undying loyalty that day as I watched events play out. Let us always never forget! Thank all of you for coming together for this ceremony. My hope and prayer is that we can continue to do this every year and that we here in Cherryville send forth our personal message to the families that we will always remember! We remember… and we shall NEVER forget!,” he said, adding, “God bless our city and our great nation as well!”
CFD firefighter Quentin Cash talked of the tolling of the bells (The 5-5-5 Bell Toll for the Fallen Firefighter), and GEMS worker Hannah Orr placed the red, white, and blue wreath by the flag pole.
The opening and closing prayer were given by Cherryville Fire Chaplin, the Rev. Dr. Vince Hefner, of Cherryville First Baptist Church.
CHS student Tyler Foley, 14, said he takes classes virtually at the high school. While he wasn’t born when 911 happened, he said it was a sad day for America.
“I feel bad for the people whose lives were lost and for their families,” he said.
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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: Cay Thornburg (HPVFD), and Richard Winters and Capt. Kurt Black, who are with CFD. (photo by MEP/CF Media)

CFD gives away almost 1,700 masks on Aug. 29

Inclement weather moves event indoors to fire station


The Saturday, Aug. 29, drive-through safety mask giveaway location was changed due to inclement weather.
Originally slated to take place in the First Baptist Church parking lot, Fire Chief and City Manager Jeff Cash said they moved it to the truck bay of the Fire Station instead, directing folks who came by to turn into the station’s drive area from off Hwy. 150/Church Street.
As of 10:30, Saturday morning, Chief Cash said they had given away almost 80 of the masks, which were part of roughly 3,300 masks, or about 33 cases of the white, cloth safety items.
Chief Cash said that by the end of the day they had given away almost 1,700 of the masks, adding, “
In an Eagle article last week, Assistant Cherryville Fire Chief Jason Wofford said the department would receive a large number of masks which were to be handed out to the Cherryville, Crouse and Waco community.
Wofford said then the mask giveaway was to be a “drive up, grab and go event,” adding the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services were involved with the mask giveaway.
Wofford said, “The masks were donated by FEMA, the aforementioned Department of Health and Human Services, and N.C. Emergency Management, thanks to our Emergency Management Director, Kevin Gordon, who contacted us last week about the give-away.”
As for how many were given out last Saturday, Chief Cash said, “We gave out just short of 1,700 masks. We will line up another Saturday soon to give the remaining masks out.”
He continued, “Also, if anybody needs a mask, they can drop by the fire station Monday through Friday, from 8 to 11:30 a.m., and later, from 12:30 to 5 p.m., to pick some up. These masks are washable up to 15 times, and come in packs of five to a pack.”
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 that any protection from the coronavirus is better than none, hence the importance of wearing face coverings of some sort.
That said, he added, “I know masks can be a hot topic with those who do not like to wear them or believe they help, but they are being provided for those who do. It is important to replace or wash masks regularly.”
Chief Cash noted the help of volunteers not only from his own CFD, they had help as well from volunteers from Hugh’s Pond Volunteer Fire Department, and the Waco VFD.
For more information on how to get masks for you or your family CFD staff said to please call the Cherryville Fire Department at (704) 435-1730.

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Rocky Hullette, District manager for Nature’s by Woodgrain and HR Supervisor Wanda Church wield the big scissors as they cut the ribbon last Friday, Aug. 28, at the opening of Cherryville’s newest business. (photo by MEP/CF Media)

Nature’s by Woodgrain opens in Cherryville

Company has ribbon cutting at old Southern Shavings building on Tot Dellinger Road


A 66-year-old, family owned millwork and animal bedding products company cut a ribbon on Aug. 28, signifying they were open for business in Cherryville and the surrounding area.
In addition to company officials and employees, a host of Cherryville City, Chamber, and Main Street Program officials came out also to welcome the town’s newest business.
The company’s web site,, noted that, “In 1954, Merrill ‘Bud’ Dame planted a seed – a moulding company in Utah named Dame Moulding and Lumber Company.” The company is now in its third generation as a family-owned business, and has expanded from its original location in Fruitland, ID.
Said Rocky Hullette, Eastern Regional Sales Manager, “We are 66 years old this year. We have products sold in 12 states and have facilities located in Idaho, Virginia, Alabama, and in North Carolina. This Cherryville location, in what was once Southern Shavings warehouse, is our newest location.”
Hullette said Southern Shavings owner Bill Culp, who opened in Cherryville back in 2004, sold to Natures by Woodgrain back in March of this year.
“We also have a location in Fallston,” said Hullette, “where we shave whole logs to make a specific size (wood) fake for our bedding products.”
Human Resources Supervisor Wanda Church said she has been with the company for seven years. She and the Cherryville location’s Supervisor, Ian Hotchkiss, along with the Fallston location’s supervisor, Dwayne Price, were all on hand, with other employees of the new business, watching the ribbon cutting for Cherryville’s newest business.
Cherryville Chamber Board President Pete Craft welcomed the Nature’s by Woodgrain crew, along with Mayor H.L. Beam, III, and a host of City Council members and City staff, and Cherryville Main Street Program staff members, to the city “Where Life Blossoms”.
Mayor Beam said, “It’s good to be here today, and on behalf of the Council, and our City staff, let me just say we are glad to have you here. We are proud you chose Cherryville as a place where you can do business.”
Mr. Craft agreed, adding he and the Cherryville business community wish the new shavings company well, affirming t them that, “We are at your service, and wish you all the best.”
In his third year with Nature’s, Hullette noted their company has seven divisions in the U.S.A. and one in Chile, South America.
“Cherryville is the only ‘whole log’ operation we have,” he said. “We purchased our competition here (Southern Shavings), and have put in a lot of long hours getting ready to get product out here. Animal bedding is a very competitive market, so we want ours to be the very best.”
Hullette said they have about 11 employees between the two locations: Fallston and Cherryville.
According to a company brochure, their bedding products are “triple-screened and 100 percent kiln dried pine, making them hypoallergenic, highly absorbent, while providing superior odor control”. They are known as being a “healthy choice” for animal bedding, particularly horses, chickens, rabbits, guinea pigs and other small animals.
For more information about the company, Hullette said to either go their web site (listed earlier in this article) or call 1-888-746-3001.
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Family and friends of Rustic Roots Salon & Spa co-owners Misty Calo and Bailey Richardson (front row, center with big scissors) at the Wednesday, Aug. 26, ribbon cutting for their new salon and spa. With them are members of the City of Cherryville staff, the Chamber of Commerce staff and board members, and Cherryville Main Street Program staff members. (photos by MEP/CF Media

New salon and spa open up in downtown Cherryville

Rustic Roots owners say this business a “first” for them


Cherryville has a new salon and spa which, by the two owners and operators own admission, is their first foray into being business owners. The new spa is located in what was once an old bank, built in 1914; then was Houser Drug Store, then was later The Agency Real Estate. The salon and spa are located at 100 E. Main Street.
Rustic Roots Salon & Spa is the brainchild of co-owners and friends Misty Calo and Bailey Richardson, who graduated from the Paul Mitchell School in Gastonia. The two said they have previously worked in Dallas, N.C., but wanted to open their own business.
Misty said, “Yes, this is our first time owning our own business. We are independent stylists, and our goal is to pamper our clients. In spite of this pandemic, we don’t feel the salon and spa business is going away.”
Calo said she is from Kings Mountain, and Richardson calls Cherryville home. The two young ladies were surrounded by family and friends for the ribbon cutting aspect of opening their new business, and had with them two young men – Jamie Pearson and Justin Johnson – who they said were their “moral support” and the two who “helped provide the backbone” for them to see this venture get off the ground.
The two young entrepreneurs have been in the styling business they said for about three years, and as Richardson said, “We are both color specialists; we do weddings, on-site styling as well as traveling as far as we need to for special occasions. We also do makeup, lash extensions, and brow and facial waxing.”
Additionally, the do on-line booking but prefer direct contact with prospective clients.
The pair have a passion for their work and for helping people look and feel their best.
Said Richardson, “I enjoy helping people and making them feel good about themselves.” This sentiment is echoed by Calo, who said, “It’s the same for me… I like making my clients feel good and look good, because when they look good, they get a big confidence boost from it.”
And the salon duo isn’t only doing just women’s hair, they wanted to make it clear they cut men’s hair as well.
“Just give us a call and we’ll set up an appointment for you,” said Misty.
Calo and Richardson were excited to see so many attend their ribbon cutting as City of Cherryville staff and Council members, as well as Chamber and Main Street officials came by to welcome them to the downtown business area.
Cherryville Chamber Board President Pete Craft welcomed the pair to the corner of Main and Mountain Streets, noting it was a nice turnout for their ribbon cutting.
Mayor H.L. Beam, III agreed, adding, “On behalf of the City and the Council and all of our staff, we welcome you both to downtown Cherryville where life blossoms.”
Beam noted he has a “lot of history” with the building their business is located in, adding, “we are here whenever you need us.” Main Street Manager Donna Beringer agreed, noting to the salon duo, “Whatever we can do for you, don’t hesitate to call on us.”
Misty and Bailey concluded the ribbon cutting by thanking everyone for coming out and inviting them in for refreshments.
Currently, Rustic Roots only has one booth available for rent, and the co-owners said they have tow, possibly three stylists who will be coming on board soon.
To make an appointment with the Rustic Roots stylists, call either (704) 898-4956, or (980) 4956.
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Captain Trent Carpenter shows of a few of his mementoes from his many years of service with the Cherryville Fire Department as a Shift Captain. (photos by MEP/CF Media)

CFD’s Captain Trent Carpenter retires after 30 years in fire service

Will continue with Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office’s Special Operations Division on a part-time basis


After working for 30 years as a public servant; 23 of those at the Cherryville Fire Department as a Shift Captain, Fire Captain Trent Carpenter’s official “last day” there was Aug. 31, he said, adding his official last day on his shift was June 7.
Captain Carpenter was over the “A” shift, working 24 hours on, and 48 hours off, he spent every third day working that shift, he noted.
Still, he was very glad when they threw him a get-together with old friends, fellow workers, and some family members on Tuesday, Aug. 25, at the Cherryville Fire Station House, complete with all kinds of food and treats, mixed with a great deal of friendly camaraderie.
Carpenter, who received his Fire Captain’s insignia of two standing fire bugles six years ago, was all smiles as he walked around the room, greeting people, all from a socially distanced aspect, and talking about good times and the many fire calls they all made.
Captain Carpenter is also a Sergeant with the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office’s Special Operations Division, a position he said he will continue to work on a part-time basis. He said he has five more years before he can retire from there.
“So far, that’s the (retirement) plan, along with a ‘honey-do’ list my wife has already planned out for me,” he said, smiling.
His wife, Sherry, said she will be glad to have him home more often, as his jobs and profession have often meant he had to be away from home many times, sometimes leaving right in the middle of their enjoying time together.
“I’m happy to see him retire and get to be home more,” she said. She and Trent have been married 29 years.
The Carpenter’s have a son, Spencer, who has followed in his father’s footsteps, profession-wise, working for the City of Hickory, N.C., fire department.
Captain Carpenter loves his family, and he loves his job, and for him, the guys he has met while on the job at CFD and at LCSO are like family to him as well.
Said Carpenter, “What will I miss most with retirement from here? I will miss the guys, the camaraderie, and the joking and kidding around with each other.
“I will still be up here visiting them, because you can’t just stay away from guys like this. They are like family to me, and you can’t stay away from family. We’re brothers and sisters in this profession. We take care of each other.”
Trent said his most memorable fire while on-duty at CFD was the January 2000 Carlton Mill fire.
“That one was something!” he said.
Cherryville City Manager and Fire Chief Jeff Cash said, “Trent Carpenter has been an asset to the City of Cherryville Fire Department and he will be missed!
“I have always relied on his expertise and professionalism in the area of rescue and training. He has always been willing to assist new firefighters in learning the fire service skill set. We wish him the very best!”
One of Trent’s friends, Fred May, came by to wish his old friend well, noting how, when the two were younger, many folks would get them mixed up because they thought they looked a lot alike.
Others from the City of Cherryville staff, such as Mayor H.L. Beam, III, and many Cherryville Police officers who have worked with him, came by as well, wishing him all the best in his retirement.
“This is great to see all these people come by for this,” said Carpenter as he looked around the room.
“I’m going to miss ‘em, but I’ll still get by every now and then to see them.”
You could tell by the look on his friend’s and co-worker’s faces, they were banking on it.
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Name announced for Catawba Two Kings Casino Resort

The Catawba Nation today announced Catawba Two Kings Casino Resort as the name of the gaming and entertainment destination the Nation is developing in Cleveland County, North Carolina.

“Catawba Two Kings Casino Resort celebrates our rich history and hopeful future in our ancestral lands in North Carolina – where our people were established hundreds of years ago, as the names Catawba River, Catawba County and Catawba College suggest,” said Catawba Chief Bill Harris.

“The name pays tribute to the 18th century Catawba Chief King Hagler and to the City of Kings Mountain, which will be home to the new casino resort. It also symbolizes the unique relationship that the Catawba people have historically had – and will continue to strengthen going forward – with fellow residents of the region,” Harris said.

The Catawba unveiled the name and logo for the new casino resort on Aug. 28 at a private event attended by citizens of the Catawba Nation community, casino project partners and City of Kings Mountain officials.

The Catawba Two Kings Casino Resort logo depicts a silhouette of King Hagler set against a representation of Kings Mountain.

The logo was developed in consultation with Delaware North. The global hospitality and entertainment company is advising the Catawba on the project.

King Hagler, Chief of the Catawba from 1750 to 1763, forged a peaceful relationship with the American colonists in the region while firmly defending the rights of his people. The Catawba helped protect the colonists, including during the French and Indian War, and in return the Catawba people received their support.
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John Chavis Middle School 7th grader Cameron Gatza talks with Principal Matt Rikard on the second day back to school. Mr. Rikard was with Blair Beam, soccer coach and teacher Michelle Cuomo, GCPD SRO Mark Johnson, and Elishia Oliver (off-camera) doing temp checks and welcoming students back last week. (photos by MEP/CF Media)

New school year; new procedures
for Cherryville’s four schools

In spite of many new changes, first day back went smoothly for principals, students, with few glitches


All things considered Cherryville’s four principals said their first day back at school last week, for them, their staffs, and their students, went smoother than they anticipated, which was good news indeed!
Better than ‘good’, it was great news for Cherryville Elementary’s Shawn Hubers, W. Blaine Beam Intermediate’s Todd Dellinger, John Chavis Middle’s Matt Rikard, and Cherryville High’s Kevin Doran.
Principal Shawn Hubers, of Cherryville Elementary, said, “I think it has gone better than expected. Our teachers and staff have just done a terrific job adjusting to all the procedural changes that had to be made and doing it with a positive attitude. Our teachers started engaging their students in meaningful learning that very first day and are helping students get comfortable with our remote learning plan too. This is going to be a big adjustment for our students and staff, but we are committed to working at it and improving each day.”
As far as student excitement Hubers said the younger kids, “(They) have done a great job making the adjustment. It isn’t easy for your students to wear their masks all day but they have done it and have done it well. There are, of course, fewer students in our building and a lot less movement of students, but our teachers have been creative to find ways for students to move around and still be safe.”
Teachers are considered “essential workers” in the fight against COVID-19, but still many have fears. Mr. Hubers had this to say about his staff, “All of our staff (and their students) have just done a terrific job. The best thing about our Cherryville area schools are our people. We have staff members who care and are invested in our school and our community.”
Mr. Dellinger of WBBI agreed with his contemporary Mr. Hubers, noting, “The (first day) opening has gone better than expected. Teachers have really been able to work on procedures with a smaller group of students and provide students with an excellent beginning to school.
“We have been very safe and careful in all we are doing!  The highlight for me is just having students back in the building, that is what we are all about. Virtual learning is great, but in my opinion, there are so many additional benefits to it being blended with face-to-face learning. I think it is outstanding that our school system gave parents a choice in what was the best fit and for their child and family.”
Dellinger said his students were glad to be back.
“The students are thrilled to be back. None of us believed when we left in March we would be out for so long. They have been amazing following safety procedures and doing what they need to do to adjust to this new way of being back in school. I am absolutely so proud of them!”
On his staff’s handling of the return to classroom teaching, Mr. Dellinger said, “I cannot share enough praise and honor to the passionate hard work of our teachers here at W. Blaine Beam. I have opened school 28 times and the challenges of this year have been the greatest.
“It has required, hard work, teamwork, new learning, patience, and an abundance of patience. Our teachers hit the ground running for a week before they ever came back into this building. Giving their own time to complete online and face-to-face training in our Learning Management System Schoology, (and) professional development on the Morning Meeting to support student social and emotional needs.
“They have worked to make sure they deliver the very best instruction possible to our students. They have worked so hard to make sure their students in both cohorts had the very best start to school, under these unique and challenging times. They have done it every day with love and it shows in every classroom in this building. I am so blessed to be a part of this great school and team.”
Dellinger continued, “I want to thank our local leaders, parents, and community for the patience, understanding, and support they have shown throughout this time of crisis. There is no better place to be a part of than here in Cherryville.”
John Chavis Middle School Principal Matt W. Rikard commented as well.
Said Rikard, “I feel that it has gone better than expected. We worked last week as a staff to have procedures in place to keep everyone safe, and to expedite the screening process.
“The main highlight would be how well the staff pulled together to accomplish such a smooth school opening under such unprecedented times. I also think that how well the parents and students have done with the procedures is amazing.”
As for his students’ excitement to be back in class, Mr. Rikard said, “Myself and (Assistant Principal) Mrs. Gillepsie have spoken to every class. They all seem excited to be back, and are anxious for things to get back to ‘normal’, (such as) having all of their peers back in school at the same time.”
As for his “Heroes that Work Here” (the teachers and staff at Chavis), Mr. Rikard noted, “I cannot say enough about the staff at JCMS and how hard they have worked.
“They are doing whatever it takes to keep everyone in the building safe, from making sure everyone is socially distanced, teaching in masks all day, to sanitizing – all while delivering excellent instruction.”
And just a few blocks across town, CHS Principal Kevin Doran noted, “A lot of planning went into the first day (back) and I am pleased to report that it went great! Our students followed directions, wore their masks, and socially distanced.
“Our teachers showed up early, helped with screening, and did anything they could do to make sure CHS was successful. I could not be more proud of everyone!”
About student excitement to be back in class, Mr. Doran said, “I think our students understand that in-person instruction is much more effective than online instruction. They miss their teachers and friends and are excited to get the opportunity to be back in school.”
Mr. Doran noted the CHS teachers and his entire staff – all “Heroes Who Work Here” – have “…gone above and beyond to ensure our students continue to have the opportunity for in-person instruction. Our custodial team disinfects all high touch areas every hour. This includes every door handle, light switch, hallway corner, bathroom, and anything else you can think of.
“They also utilize an electrostatic sprayer to deep clean and disinfect all surfaces each night. My teachers sanitize each desk and high touch area in their classrooms after every use. They also pull triple duty before school, after school, and during their planning periods ensuring that our students are wearing masks and social distancing.
“Everyone at CHS, from the front office to our bus drivers, are pulling together to make this work. We will continue to do everything possible to make sure our students are safe. We must follow all of our safety procedures strictly in order to continue offering in-person instruction.”

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Pastor Gertjan Vroege and his wife, Stephanie; their children Nathaniah (11), Josiah (10), and Sarah (7), with members of the Cherryville Police Department: Chief Cam Jenks, dispatcher John Rudisill, and Patrol Officers Vince Burleson, Sable Cranford, Edward Stivala, and Derek Thom.

Ugandan missionaries, their kids, fellowship over breakfast with Cherryville PD officers

Chief: “What they did for us was great!


Cherryville Police Department Chief Cam Jenks will be the first to tell you the year 2020 (and more than a few before it) have not been kind to law enforcement agencies and their image as perceived and reported on by the media.
However, he and his hard-working staff are greatly heartened by a recent kindness shown them by three breakfast serving tykes and their parents, Pastor Gertjan and Stephanie Vroege.
Stephanie and Gertjan are staying in the Second Baptist Church Missions House while here, and their children would see the CPD officers getting gas across the street from their house.
Said Chief Jenks, “What they did for us was great! With all the false narratives that play out in the media and how they play to the fears of kids nowadays, for us this was a blessing!”
Jenks said he knew that Stephanie and some of his officers interacted with the children, which helped them change their outlook about police officers.
“They (the Vroege family) came and showed us a lot of love in a time when law enforcement members aren’t feeling much of it in many places in America,” said Chief Jenks.
Stephanie takes up the thread of the story from there, noting, “From hearing things on the news, they were fearing (the police) with all that happened with (the killing of) George Floyd.
“But after meeting the Sisk family and their son (Patrol Officer Skylar Sisk), the cops have become their heroes. They see them every day as we are staying in the Second Baptist Missions house and the place (where) they gas up is across the road from us.
“So now they look out and speak to the police every day and have been able to meet most of them. They no longer fear (them). The police force here in Cherryville have been very kind and talked with the kids and answered their questions and made them not fearful anymore.”
Currently, Pastor and Mrs. Vroege are able to live off of support from family, friends and supporting churches, and are in the states, and Cherryville, pending the borders in Uganda opening, she said, adding, “We plan to go back in December of this year, to finish our work on the Islands and in the village (in which they ministered). All of this is depending on (what happens with) the coronavirus and the borders opening up in Uganda.”
Stephanie, who is originally from Cherryville, and is the daughter of the late Thomas B. Patterson. Her mother is Betty Patterson. She said she and Gertjan have been in Uganda since 2012 with their last time home as a family being in 2015.
She continued, “I was raised in Zion Hill Baptist Church; Pastor Roger Fuller; here in Cherryville, but after University, I lived in the Cary, N.C., area and our sending church is Grace Bible Fellowship, (located in) Cary, N.C.; Pastor Norman Peart; and in Holland, DeArk.
“My husband is from the Netherlands. He and I met in 2006 in Tema, Ghana, in West Africa. We have been in Missions and serving in missions since then. We most recently have been in Uganda since 2012 and recently adopted a little girl from Uganda, whose name is Sarah. This is our first time as a family in the USA in five years since our adoption, which was a longer process than anticipated.”
Mrs. Vroege said when they are ministering in Uganda, they teach the Bible and do trainings on the islands of Lake Victoria and in villages. They also teach discipleship, evangelism, and do some medical work, as she is an RN-PNP. Additionally, she does volunteer work at the local children’s hospital to encourage and work with local nursing staff and share the love of Christ. She is also a consultant to missionaries on care of their children. In addition, Stephanie helps to lead a missionary women’s Bible Study group.
Simply put, she said their mission is from the Gospel of Matthew (28:19-20) where believers are commanded to “Go, therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit; teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
She said, “Our desire and passion are to see people equipped with the Word of God. So, we partner with an organization (SHIM-Shepherd’s Heart International Ministry) and serve on the islands of Lake Victoria providing Bible teaching, training, and discipleship. We travel as a family one week out of the month by boat for about one and half hours on Lake Victoria and stay on the compound of SHIM.
“The students also travel and stay for the week. The students are primarily pastors and church leaders, and they attend a two-year Bible School. The school covers the Old and New Testament and cultural and Biblical topics; the students are taught how to study the Bible and how to apply it. The students are taught through Bible Storying, theology, character, ministry skills, and leadership classes.
“These Pastors have a desire for Biblical knowledge and training. Their life on the islands would otherwise not allow for funding or opportunity to attend a Bible school on the mainland. It is amazing as we see them grow in Bible knowledge, how they apply it, and to see their households and villages start living it out. We see them learning, growing, and changing by the power of God’s Word.”
Pastor Gertjan works in three local villages on land and is doing the same two-year Bible School curriculum that we use on the islands. It is life-changing as they grow in the knowledge of the Bible, how to study the Bible, and how to apply it in their daily lives. Our heart is Biblical truth, teaching, and discipleship.”
Stephanie said, “Lastly, but officially, our first ministry is to our family. We have three children that are homeschooled! God is good and we are thankful to serve in Uganda!”
For those who might wish to help the Vroege’s out by supporting their ministry in Uganda, Stephanie said you can give on line at, or mail it to: Global Outreach Mission-MissionGO P.O. Box 2010, Buffalo, New York, 14231-2010 (write check out to MissonGO and attach a note that it is for Gertjan and Stephanie Vroege).
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Cherryville artist Sherry Bingham sits in her soon-to-be-open studio at 200-B East Main Street, surrounded by a few of her creations. (photo by MEP/CF Media)

Bingham wants everyone
to discover the joy of art

Her downtown Art Works studio and gallery will be opening soon


It is a fair statement to say that Cherryville artist is truly in her element when it comes to talking about her favorite subject – art.
And, to that end, she wants, as her business card says, everyone to “Discover the Joy of Art”. She believes in its healing power, its recuperative power, and most importantly, it unifying power in that it can bring even the most disparate types of folks together for a common goal – making something magical happen through creating a stunning visual painting, drawing, sculpture, or mixed media piece that will last for some time.
Mrs. Bingham, a retired art educator and local artist and art teacher, is one of two artisans who will be occupying the ground floor of Cherryville’s newest treasure, the newly-redone building at 200 E. Main.
Bingham’s studio/gallery is in the back, and though small, already looks as if it has been in use for a while, right down to the eclectic, “artsy” atmosphere and decor.
Sherry retired from teaching in 2012, and plans to use the space to teach small groups as well as create, show and sell her own art.
“I have a passion for art, and have had since I was in the second grade,” said Bingham, who can barely contain her excitement as she talks about creating art. “I knew then I wanted to be a teacher and wanted to let my students do art all day long!”
Bingham’s love for her profession is evident in the pieces in her studio; sculptures, prints, and brightly colored paintings of various sizes and themes, all geared toward eliciting questions such as, “What made you paint this?”, or “Why did you choose this as a theme?”
Most recently, Sherry noted she is dabbling more in digital photography and enhancing her photos on a computer, but still retaining their “specialness”.
Her late mom and dad, Patricia Lineberger Dellinger and Everette E. “Red” Dellinger, encouraged her, she said, adding her mother did watercolor painting, mostly as a hobby, though she also worked some in oils and acrylics.
The family, originally from Lincolnton, moved to Cherryville, where her father ran a dry-cleaners out of the very building she eventually wound up owning, then selling – the 200 E. Main St. building.
As for teaching, Bingham said she started teaching in 1968, then taught privately for 16 years, and returned to public teaching in 1980, in the Kings Mountain district, first in elementary school, then later on, in high school.
“I didn’t teach any students after my retirement,” she said.
Bingham said she taught noted Cherryville artist Gary Freeman, who later taught art at Gaston College, and now has a studio and gallery in Main Street, in the old Eagle office.
Bingham said she has taught many different styles of art, adding that she “loves surrealism, the unexpected and the whimsical” in artistic styles. Her love for the Victorian era has caused to dabble some in the “steampunk” style of art, which combines many of the technical aspects of the modern and the late 1800s art styles, often combining them in design “mashup” that is a style all its own.
To many Cherryville folks Mrs. Bingham is perhaps best known for her “Children’s Art Alleyway”, nestled between two buildings on Main Street.
“I feel it is my legacy,” she said, reflecting on what it took to bring the award-winning, real-space artwork to fruition as part of the Cherryville Main Street Program.
Bingham said she loves working in the downtown area; the hustle and bustle, and will hopefully soon have an open house for her studio, once it is all finished.
“I want to be accepting students by September,” she said. “also, I don’t want to teach online, so I will start at a low capacity. As for the cost for getting into one of her classes, which will offer a wide variety of artistic disciplines and styles, as well as differing mediums and platforms, she said it would be best to call her at (704) 913-8928, or email her at She is also in Facebook (Art Works with Sherry Bingham).
Bingham’s eventual goal, she noted, is to be able to get her students to sell as well as exhibit their work.
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Some of the helpful (and properly masked!) staff at the recently re-opened Cherryville Area Ministries, a.k.a CAM, are (left to right): Store Manager Barbara Decker, Community Outreach & Affairs Manager Sherry Curry, and truck driver and food room assistant Airan Smith. (photo by MEP/CF Media)

Cherryville Area Ministries
re-opened for business July 6

Store closed in March but continued its assistance program throughout that time


Cherryville Area Ministries Community Outreach & Affairs Manager Sherry Curry said she and her staff are glad to be back doing what they love most – helping others through in this tough time.
Curry, along with store manager Barbara Decker, truck driver and food room assistant Airan Smith, and store clerks Diane Beebe, Grace Stout, and Jenny Smith, who Curry noted can come back after the Phase 3 opening plans get under way, are all masked up (per COVID-10 safety protocols), and at the store almost every day, manning the phones, greeting customers, and helping folks out with their purchases and finding what they need, all at a great price.
Curry also said she didn’t want to forget Dale Towns with what she termed “an honorable mention,” for alt-hough he is not officially an employee, Curry said, “He dedicates his time to us and we are thankful to have him!”
Said Curry, “As I said, our last day opened (pre-COVID-19) was March 19, and that was, as she noted, “at full capacity.”
She continued, “On March 20, we continued our assistance program, and that was throughout the time the store was closed. We officially opened the store back up on July 6, with days and hours of operation being Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m., to 5 p.m. We are no longer open on Saturdays. Also, we are currently open at only 50 percent capacity.”
Sherry said that making the store safer and free from COVID-19 contamination requires constant attention and sanitization, which they are all happy to do to assure there are no problems.
“We have someone disinfecting all the buggies and front door handles after each use. Also, countertops, cash registers and other door handles within the store are wiped repeatedly with disinfectant wipes throughout the day.”     
She continued, “We also have signs asking people to stay six feet apart from each other, practicing positive social distancing, and we have ‘one-way aisle’ signs. We have a sign asking customers to not enter if they have a fever, feel sick or if they or anyone they have been around has tested positive for COVID-19.
“We are limiting our number of customers to 20 people at a time so we can take in consideration the staff and volunteers as well. Additionally, we all wear masks and make sure our customers wear their masks too.”
Additionally, Curry commented that, “Any clothes that have been tried on and not purchased are placed in a cart placed outside the dressing room doors and brought to the back and covered for 72 hours before they are hung back out on the shopping floor.”
Said Curry, “We do not touch donations, meaning we have individuals unload their donations of clothes and miscellaneous items into a bin that is placed out front. When that is full, we roll it to the back and cover it for 72 hours.
“After the 72 hours are up, we sort through it to put it out on the shopping floor. Furniture is to be left outside for 72 hours or until we can get out to wipe and spray it with disinfectant. Once we do that, we can bring it in and put it on the shopping floor.”
As for the gate out front, Ms. Curry noted, “Our ‘After Hours’ process is that we keep our gate at the road closed so people do not drop off donations.”
Curry said she and her staff have seen an increase in those in need due to the coronavirus, estimating that in-crease in food and rental assistance needs to be roughly about 25 percent.
She also noted that while they have not seen any reduc-tion in monetary support so far, there has been some re-duction in actual merchandise donations due to the COVID-19 restrictions and also due to their having to be closed for the length of time they were.
Curry said for those who wish to help or continue to help the Ministry, “They can call the store at (704) 435-3816, and I will call back the same day, unless it’s the weekend or after hours.
“They can email, or they can message us on Facebook messenger under Cher-ryville Area Ministries.”
The Ministry has a Board of Directors comprised of 12 members that guides them in their decision making and in overall policy-making.
They are: Clay Henley (President); Tammy Kiser (Vice-President); Kim Eaker (Treasurer); Barbara McDaniel (Secretary); and Debbie Funderburke, Rev. Jhoan Alfaro, Suzette Smith; Jody Hayes; Bess Thornburg; Ellen Jack-son; Rev. Dr. Bill Lowe; and Bernice Harris.
Curry said she is thankful for the Board, her staff, and the community and people of Cherryville.
“We would like to thank those in the community for understanding the safety measures we are taking and being patient with us.
“We have these measures in place for everyone’s safety and to help slow the spread of COVID-19 in our commu-nity. It is important to us that all our staff, volunteers and customers stay safe during this pandemic. Although small, we have a great staff who work together well. And we are proud of each of them for sticking to the new guidelines and putting themselves out there during these unpredictable times,” she said.

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The groundbreaking for the Catawba Nation Casino gets under way (on Wednesday, July 22) as nine men, representing the Nation and its leaders, the City of Kings Mountain, Cleveland County Commissioners, Delaware North, and Sky Boat Gaming ceremoniously get a shovelful of dirt to toss into a pile, signifying work is officially begun on the long-awaited casino. Left to right are: Wallace Cheves (Sky Boat Gaming); Butch Sanders (Catawba Nation); Jason Harris (Assistant Chief of the Catawba Nation); Sam Beck (Catawba Nation Councilman); Johnny Hutchins (Cleveland County Commissioner); E. Brian Hansberry (Gaming President, Delaware North); Rodrick Beck (Catawba Nation Secretary/Treasurer), Scott Neisler (Mayor, City of Kings Mountain); and Catawba Nations Chief William “Bill” Harris. (photos by MEP/The Eagle)

Catawba Indian Nation breaks ground for a multi-million dollar casino

Project represents $273 million  investment and many jobs for Cleveland County; surrounding counties


Last Wednesday, July 22, representatives from the Catawba Indian Nation, located in Rock Hill, S.C., and the City of Kings Mountain, and from Cleveland County, met to break ground for the Catawba’s Casino Resort Project.
The group of individuals met at 10:30 a.m., at the Catawba’s 16-acres of land set aside for the casino, just off Exit 5 on I-85, the actual address being 245 Dixon School Rd., Kings Mountain.
In a Monday, July 20, media release from Tribal Administrator Elizabeth Harris, there was limited space available due to COVID-19 restrictions, and the expected mask and social distancing guidelines and rules were in place.
Catawba Chief William “Bill” Harris, after brief introductions of all those who were invited to speak and take part in the auspicious occasion, said, “We are privileged to work with the Cleveland County Board of Commissioners and the City of Kings Mountain. We are also pleased to be working with Delaware North as well as Sky Boat Development.”
Chief Harris spoke about the history of the Catawba Nation and the tribe’s close historical ties with first the English during the French and Indian War, then with the Colonial Americans, when they later took up arms against the British in the Battle of Kings Mountain.
He spoke of the Catawba’s great King Hagler, who in the 1750s spoke about living in peace, love and friendship with all nations. King Hagler, or Nopkehee, who was born about 1700, and died in 1763. He became Chief of the Catawba in 1754.
“We, the Catawba Nation, were there to read the signs and warn the colonists of British attacks,” Chief Harris said, as he continued on the history of the Catawba Nation.
Chief Harris referenced how their nation has developed many partnerships over the many years, bringing it home by referring to the coming casino and its many job opportunities by saying, “Today, we celebrate the thousands of jobs that will be created; we celebrate the economic growth that will come about.”
Regarding that economic growth: it is estimated that a total of $428.1 million will be realized as far as an annual economic impact is concerned. The breakdown is as follows: $308 million (once operational, in per year of direct economic activity and employment of an estimated 2,600 workers); $77.3 million (an additional per year in indirect impact through local purchases from local business); and another $42.8 million per year in induce impact from employer expenditures, according to information provided by London & Associates (February 2020). This same study projects that construction activity alone will generate $311 million, with a “total employment of 2,347 from direct, indirect, and induced effect”, as per that same media release.
Harris continued, “Today the Catawba Nation wants to express it gratitude to Kings Mountain, Delaware North, Cleveland County, and Sky Boat, as well as others as this project unfolds. Some of those others he talked about include U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham, Richard Burr, Tom Tillis, and Sen. Scott for their 2019 support that encouraged the request to accept the 16 acres of land into trust for the Catawbas. That decision is still being contested by the Cherokee Tribe but the casino continues to move forward, noted Chief Harris, in a March 2020 article in the Eagle.
According to the Project History & Timeline handed out at the groundbreaking, the projected Introductory Phase, complete with 1,300 operational gaming devices is possibly summer of 2021.
Kings Mountain Mayor Scott Neisler, who was one of the project leads, along with Cleveland County Commissioner Johnny Hutchins, was quoted on the handout as saying, “Finally, the Catawbas have the opportunity to perpetuate their culture as a meaningful elevation of their place in North American history.
“Before today, this eight-mile stretch of I-85 had little to offer to locals and tourists. With this project we will become the premier destination between Atlanta and Washington, DC, for entertainment.”
Neisler said at the groundbreaking, “Today, we are standing on official Catawba Nation lands! This is historical Catawba land! We are all Americans, and we are in lockstep with them, and wish them well in the furthering of their culture. I want to thank Chief Harris and others of this Catawba Nation for having us as guests on their land.”
Commissioner Hutchins was quoted on the handout as saying, “Our steadfast partnership with the Catawba Indian Nation has brought us to this moment in time to celebrate their culture and their desire to improve the future of tribe members and those in Cleveland County and the region through jobs, tourism, and economic potential.”
He added at the groundbreaking, “This (casino and its jobs) is going to be beneficial to us all.”
In addition to Hutchins being there for the Cleveland County Commissioners, Chairperson Susan Allen was present as well, as was Delaware North’s Gaming President E. Brian Hansberry, and a host of dignitaries and others. Sheriff Alan Norman and the Cleveland County Sheriff’s Department provided security and direction for the event.
Hansberry noted that Delaware North wants “to create a world-class operation here,” and that they were “glad to be working on this.”
In closing, Chief Harris, said, just before inviting everyone to the actual groundbreaking area, “This project will have a huge economic impact on this area!”
Providing tribal music and prayers for the event, along with ceremonial drumming were Jason and Ronnie Beck.
For those desiring more information on the Catawba Nation Casino or the tribe, contact Elizabeth Harris, Tribal Administrator at, or call (803) 366-4792, ext. 225.

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Cherryville Postal Clerk Cynthia Wright takes care of customer Brodis Baxter of Vale, who came by last week to get a postal money order cashed. (photo by MEP/The Eagle)

Keeping mail moving “Job One”
for Cherryville’s Post Office crew

Staff can now add word “pandemic” to their “Postman’s Oath”


(Ed. Note: This is Part Six of the Eagle’s “Heroes Work Here” series showcasing those in our small community who work hard to make all of us safer and help life to go on as near to normal as can be during this coronavirus pandemic.)

If you remember your elementary school, then later, your civics classes and teaching, you probably can recite the “Postman’s Oath”.
According to a search on the site Google, the full and complete “Postman’s Oath” goes something like this: “Neither rain, nor sleet, nor dark of night shall stay these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.” Today, with all that is going on with the coronavirus perhaps they should add the words, “nor COVID-19 pandemic” to it.
For the Cherryville Post Office Postmaster Catherine Brock and her crew, keeping the mail going forward and making sure everyone gets their mail is, as it has always been, an essential job.
“We work together as a family to get the job done,” she said recently.
With Brock at the Cherryville Post Office are about 25 staff and mail carriers.
“We have 10 full-time mail carriers,” said Brock.
Like Brock, and others who serve the public in today’s pandemic world, all of the postal workers at Cherryville’s branch don’t see themselves as “heroes” though they have a sign in their lobby that proudly states that “Heroes Work Here!” And, like Ms. Brock, they all have many years invested in working for the United States government, and all very proud of their job and their ability to do it well.
Supervisor Scott Smith said he has 24 years in as a postal employee. He takes great pride in being able to make sure his employees have the health supplies they need on hand to combat this pandemic.
“From the git-go, that is, the time we found out about the virus, we went to work making the building safe for our employees. Also, we’re fortunate in that the command center in Forest City has supplies we can get when we need to. I think we’ve done an awesome job in taking care of sanitizing the building and vehicles. The USPS has done a great job also in getting the materials to us that we need.”
For Smith, his faith in God has stood him in good stead through out all of this pandemic.
Likewise, for rural mail carrier Patricia Mooney, of Vale, who has been with the post office for 12 years, three of them at Cherryville.
“Since I’ve been here,” she said, “safety is the number one thing we take care of.”
Mooney said it’s her faith in God that keeps her going during this pandemic as well as the joy of just getting to say “Hello!” to folks whose mail she delivers on her route.
Brock, who has 20-plus years in the business, also attributes her faith in the Lord and her being able to help others, seeing satisfaction in that, is what makes the job special to her.
Likewise, for clerk Cynthia Wright, who noted, “I take pride in my job and my job is service to my community.” Wright has 30-plus years with the Post Office.
Rural carrier Julie Clinton, who has five years of service with the Post Office, said her faith in God keeps her here doing what she does every day.
Said Julie, “It’s an honor to provide an essential service such as this to others.”
Allison Sitar, who has been a clerk at the Cherryville Post Office for about a week, agreed.
“I feel privileged they gave me an opportunity to work here and to help provide this service to the community. It’s great to be able to do what I get to do!” she said.
Twenty-year-plus postal veteran Lisa Roach, also a rural mail carrier, said, “I always count it an honor to work at the post office. We bring people valuable information and get to see the instant gratification on their faces when we bring them good news.”
Like her fellow workers, Roach noted the pandemic is a “scary thing”, but added, “We try and remember that in our jobs there are people who are counting on us. We have great people working here too! Scott (the supervisor) always takes care of us!”
Rural carrier Renee Peeler said she has the same sentiments about her job at the Cherryville Post Office. She has been a mail carrier for 13 years.
One of the more visible mail carriers that was there the day of this interview was 17-year mail carrier veteran Heather Barger, whose smiling face has been a staple in downtown Cherryville, and all along her route.
Barger said she started in Pineville, but has been in Cherryville for the past 15 years.
“I love my job, and I love getting to see my customers,” she said. The best part, since I love being outdoors, is being out in town and greeting people.”
Brock said, “We have an awesome staff and hard-working crew. Everybody’s been at work every day.”
Smith agreed, adding, “We provide normalcy to the public. When they see our mail trucks out delivering the mail, it equals stability.”
Cathy also added, “We would also like to include our thanks to the many businesses and customers who have provided support to the staff during this pandemic.”

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Some of those at the June 10 meals prep event for local law enforcement and service personnel at Cherryville’s First Baptist Church. Left to right are: Scretia Hartman, of Cherryville’s First Baptist Church; Belmont Police Dept.’s Asst. Chief, B.P. Falls; Cherryville First Baptist pastor, the Rev. Dr. Vince Hefner; Belmont Police Dept. Lt. A.C. Pullen, Cherryville First Baptist Church Secretary Abby Hawkins; and Cherryville First Baptist Church Minister of Youth, Rev. Jhoan Alfaro. (photo by MEP/The Eagle)

Church puts Matthew 5:3
into practice by feeding local
peacemakers, service personnel


On June 10, the staff of Cherryville First Baptist Church, and four area businesses, set about providing meals for local and area police forces, to show their appreciation for the work those police and law enforcement agencies do for the many communities they serve.
Cherryville First Baptist pastor, the Rev. Dr. Vince Hefner said then of their intended goal, “We will serve over 300 meals to different people in law enforcement and public safety.
“We want to do something positive by serving the people who serve us!”
He continued, “I believe our desire in providing a meal to the police officers and first responders was to encourage the men and women who serve and protect us. In difficult and challenging times people need to hear, see, and experience the love of Christ.
“The goal is to lift up the downtrodden in Jesus name. You never know what just one kind act in Jesus’ name will do for someone who is discouraged.
“As Americans, we need each other, and we need to respect and love one another. If we remain divided, we will never be able to stand. If we cannot forgive, we are doomed to live in defeat and fear. If we live in the past, we will never experience the blessings of the present.”
Abby Hawkins, who helped with getting the meals together and delivering  them,  said they had

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 delivered “altogether 350 meals.”
Reverend Hefner wanted to thank Scretia Hartman and those FBC volunteers who helped cook and prepare the meals and put them together for the officers. He also noted he wanted to thank all the sponsors who donated to help with the meals.
“Our sponsors were Carolina Federal Credit Union, Heath Jackson Plumbing, Sun Drop/Choice USA Beverage, Scott Beam and Beamco, of Cherryville, and Cherryville Signs and Graphics,” Dr. Hefner noted.
The police and other public agencies they provided meals for are as follows: the Cherryville Police Department; the Cherryville Fire Department; the Gaston County Sheriff’s Office; the Gaston County Police Department; the Belmont Police Department; Hugh’s Pond Volunteer Fire Department; Gastonia City Police Dept.; the Mount Holly Police Dept.; the Cramerton Police Department; the police departments for Lowell, Bessemer City, Ranlo, Stanley, and Dallas, and the N.C. State Highway Patrol.
Dr. Hefner also noted that in addition to feeding the local public safety officials to show appreciation for their service, FBC also mailed 33 letters across the U.S. to various police departments thanking them for their service, and to let them know that the folks at FBC in Cherryville were praying for them daily.
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Summer feeding program offers meals for students at 18 school sites

Gaston County Schools has transitioned its “Grab and Go” meal program to its annual Summer Feeding Program, but students and parents will not notice much change.
Meals this summer are being distributed at 18 school sites.  The sites listed below also were used this spring for the “grab and go” program.
In addition to the Cherryville and Bessemer City locations at Cherryville Elementary School, 700 East Academy St., Cherryville, Bessemer City High School, 119 Yellow Jacket Ln., Bessemer City, and Tryon Elementary School, 2620 Tryon Courthouse Rd., Bessemer City; additional sites are as follows: Ashbrook High School, 2222 South New Hope Rd., Gastonia; H.H. Beam Elementary School, 200 Davis Park Rd., Gastonia; Brookside Elementary School, 1925 Auten Rd., Gastonia; Carr Elementary School, 307 South Pine St., Dallas; Chapel Grove Elementary School, 5201 Lewis Rd., Gastonia; Grier Middle School, 1622 East Garrison Blvd., Gastonia; Holbrook Middle School, 418 South Church St., Lowell|; Hunter Huss High School, 1518 Edgefield Ave., Gastonia; Kiser Elementary School, 311 East College St., Stanley; Mount Holly Middle School, 124 South Hawthorne St., Mount Holly; North Belmont Elementary School, 210 School St., Belmont; Robinson Elementary School, 3122 Union Rd., Gastonia; Warlick Academy, 1316 Spencer Mountain Rd., Gastonia; Webb Street School, 1623 North Webb St., Gastonia; and Woodhill Elementary School, 1027 Woodhill Dr., Gastonia.
At each location, distribution takes place on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, from 10:30 a.m. until 12:00 noon. A meal for Friday is provided on Thursday.
How does the program work?
When you arrive at the meal pickup site that is most convenient for you, look for the school nutrition personnel in the front parking lot. Then, go to the distribution area and ask for a meal. The meal will be packaged in a bag.
The meal will be provided to children (age 18 and younger) free-of-charge. You should plan to take the meal with you – there is not a place to eat on-site.
You may pick up a meal at any of the sites, regardless of where you live or attend school.
If you have a question about our summer feeding program, please call (704) 836-9110.
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The Cherryville High School front lot and turnaround area shortly after it was scraped on Tuesday, June 23. (photo by MEP/The Eagle)

Thanks to school bond dollars Cherryville High School parking lots scraped, and ready for paving

Cost of the CHS parking lot paving is approximately $230,000


The front and back parking lots of Cherryville High School are scraped and ready for paving thanks to funds allocated by the $250 million school bond referendum.
Gaston County School Communications Director Todd Hagans spoke to this fact by noting that when voters overwhelmingly approved a $250 million school bond referendum, it marked what he termed in a media release from GCS’ office, “the beginning of a new era – an exciting time for new school construction, school additions, and renovations and repairs.”
Hagans elaborated in the release, “A multi-year effort is in place to use the bond funds. The first allotment of $60 million is providing money for construction of the new Belmont Middle School ($40 million) and addressing critical renovations and repairs at 25 schools ($20 million).
“A number of projects, ranging from roof replacements and parking lot paving to new gym floors and new windows/doors, are already complete while others are in progress or development.”
Hagans mentioned that among the most significant projects are roof replacements, citing roofing work that has taken place at Southwest Middle School and South Point High School, and improvements that are planned at six more schools – East Gaston, Highland, Mount Holly, Beam Intermediate, Page, and North Gaston.
He continued, “Paving (of driveways/parking lots) is complete at Webb Street, Grier, New Hope, and Cherryville Elementary with work scheduled in the near future at Carr and Cherryville High (CHS).”
The work at CHS has begun as of June 23, according to Principal Kevin Doran, who noted the front and back lots have been scraped already by Barton Contracting.
Said Doran, “They came by on Tuesday, June 23, literally before the sun came up and knocked out the front parking lot and turnaround area.”
Additionally, they scraped the back lot, the buses having been moved prior to that a few days before to the lot across from the high school in order to facilitate that work. The side lot, near the CHS practice field, has not yet been scraped, nor is it known if that was to have been included with the already scraped lots.
On Thursday, July 2, Mr. Hagans noted via email the cost of the CHS parking lot paving is approximately $230,000.
Hagans also noted other improvements also are being made and those are to athletic facilities, which included a new gym floor at John Chavis Middle School and new baseball field lights at North Gaston High School.
Said Hagans, “Other school projects focus on electrical/lighting, HVAC, plumbing, flooring, and life safety (cameras, intercoms, and alarms).
“With only $60 million allocated for the first round of work, that leaves $190 million for new construction and more renovations/repairs in the years ahead.”
For those wishing to stay up to date on what’s going on with the school bonds, Mr. Hagans noted you can do so by visiting the Gaston County Schools website.
“You’ll find information about the bonds, the allocation of funds by townships, upcoming and completed projects, and much more at,” he said.

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Pastor Dale Hendricks (far left) and members of the Shady Grove Ad Hoc Committee, at the Sunday, June 21, Father’s Day ceremonial groundbreaking for the new church sanctuary.

Shady Grove Baptist Church groundbreaking for new sanctuary

Special to the Eagle

Sunday, June 21, 2020 will be remembered as an historical milestone in the history of Shady Grove Baptist Church of Cherryville.
In the outdoor setting at the church, the special day began with reverent messages in song by Choir Director Joe Heffner, followed by soloist Kathy Bumgardner and a Father’s Day message by Shady Grove’s Pastor Dale Hendricks.
Church historian and parliamentarian Charles Haynes spoke of the history of Shady Grove Baptist Church of Cherryville. He explained how 32 members organized Shady Grove under a brush arbor on Highway 274, south of Cherryville in 1881.
The church in the “grove of trees” was followed by the present-day sanctuary in 1951, an Educational Building in 1964, and the Family Life Center in 1992. He pondered the question of when might we need more space.
Former Shady Grove pastor, Rev. Keith Hollar was present as the leader of the “Building Through Faith” Campaign. This campaign brought together past and present church members who desire for Shady Grove to grow and to continue to be the church in the “grove of trees” that will reach out with the message of Jesus Christ.
Father’s Day was an appropriate day to break ground for a new sanctuary that will be a place of worship where it began in the community so many years earlier.
As many church members and visitors watched, the Ad Hoc Committee, with shovels in hand, ceremoniously broke the ground for the new sanctuary immediately following Rev. Hollar’s prayer of dedication.
Special thanks were expressed by Pastor Hendricks to the Ad Hoc Committee, Building Through Faith Committee, Alliance Bank
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and Trust, Architect Jerry McGinnis, Morrison Construction, A&A Grading, and Rev. Hollar.
Pastor Hendricks also remembered that Shady Grove has lost four faithful members recently. Elizabeth Hovis, Harold Jackson, Hillard Hester, and Janice Beam all wanted to see the construction of the new sanctuary. Each one of them surely had a special place in the hearts of many church members during the sanctuary groundbreaking.
Pastor Dale was instrumental in leading the congregation in carrying out this important phase in the life of Shady Grove and the community, and the church is grateful for his Spirit-led leadership.
In closing the service, Pastor Hendricks quoted Psalm 127:1, “Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it.” Special scripture indeed for a special day.
To God be the glory!

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Some of the Houser Drug staff who, like their medical and pharmaceutical counterparts in Cherryville, Gaston County, and North Carolina, are all our Hometown “Heroes Who Work Here”. Working that day (June 25) left to right were: Sarah Gatza, Jill Parker-Puett, Pharmacist and store co-owner Tim Moss, Barry Heavner, and Dawson Long. (photo by MEP/The Eagle)

Houser Drug pharmacy staff stay vigilant during COVID pandemic

They’ve been in harm’s way before and know God is watching out for them


(Ed. Note: This is Part Four of the Eagle’s “Heroes Work Here” series showcasing those in our small community who work hard to make all of us safer during the coronavirus pandemic.)

The staff and employees of Houser Drug have more than a passing interest in this 2020 COVID-19 pandemic.
As health care workers, like doctors and nurses, they and other fellow pharmacists and pharmacy techs who live and work in Cherryville, are essential to their community as front-line troops in the fight against this insidious, seemingly hard-to-kill little pest that ruins lives physically and economically. Theirs is a constant vigilance against an unseen but deadly enemy.
Houser Drug has been a Cherryville business since 1935, said co-owner and Pharmacist Tim Moss. Moss has been a Pharmacist since 1988, with 28 of his professional years spent at Houser Drug. Tim said he believes the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic is one of the worst viral epidemics the U.S., or the world, has faced in recent history.
“I feel the media has taken this (COVID-19) to a heightened level. We hate to see it come, and we weren’t prepared for it.”
Moss noted that he and his peers in the medical community see many immuno-compromised people, such as people who have diabetes, various types of cancer, high-blood pressure, stroke, or older patients on a daily basis. He said they see how these folks are having to deal with it so they try to do their part daily to help make things better for them, as well as for the employees of Houser Drug.
“We’ve been wiping down everything in the store daily. If one of our employees has a fever, we’ve told them to stay home,” he said. “In this business we’re at risk every day. My job is to deal with sick people every day, but I don’t think of myself as a hero. My reward is to see people healthy and whole.”
Moss said he and his employees treat their clients and customers like family, adding he doesn’t let money or profit-making drive his decisions, because, as he says, “I know what business we’re in – health care.”
Moss and his employees who have been with him a while are aware of what an epidemic looks and feels like as they have been through a number of them in the past.
Said Tim, “We’ve been in harm’s way before and we know God is watching out for us. The bottom line though is that I hope and pray it all works out and we can flatten the curve or get a vaccine soon. We want everybody to stay safe, but life has to resume at some point in time.”
Houser Drug employee Jill Parker-Puett knows their staff has gone the distance, and is practicing social distancing in their store.
“We have to protect ourselves while taking care of others. We know the masks (they have to wear) and hand washing are protecting us,” she said.
Parker-Puett, who has been with Houser Drug for 11 years, was an EMT for over 20 years, but nothing she has seen to date, she noted, “is equal to this (the pandemic).”
Said Parker-Puett, “Some folks don’t know they have it so it, so the masks and hand washing do help. Also, we’re testing a whole lot more than when this first started.
“Personally, I feel bad for those who have loved ones in a care facility or the hospital who lose or have lost loved ones and couldn’t be there with them in their hour of need.”
Parker-Puett noted she and the folks at Houser Drug, and all the other pharmacies and medical clinics, nursing homes, doctor’s offices, and such are “uniquely poised to handle things like this.”
Sarah Gatza, who has been with Houser Drug for three years, has to be especially careful to not contract the virus as her husband Robert is a heart patient and is still under a physician’s care and watchful eye after a heart transplant at Duke. She believes that God healed her husband and made a way for him to have his new heart and they’re not taking that for granted, she said.
“I trust God to take care of me on a daily basis and to be smart, wash my hands, wear a mask, and do what I can to protect him and my family from this (COVID-19 virus). I feel everyone should do that as well, for yourselves, and for others too!”

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Gaston County Schools’ Principal appointments


According to a media release from Gaston County Schools, spokesman Todd Hagans said that during their Board of Education meeting on Monday, June 15, the Board approved the following three principal appointments for the 2020-2021 academic year.
Mr. Chris Mills, previously the Director of Alternative Education, was appointed to serve as Principal at Webb Street School.
Kings Mountain resident and former CHS teacher, Matt Rikard, was appointed to serve as principal at Cherryville’s John Chavis Middle School.
Hagans noted that previously Mr. Rikard served as an assistant principal at Cramerton Middle School.
Mr. Ryan Smith was appointed to serve as Principal at H.H. Beam Elementary School.
Mr. Smith previously served as Principal for a number of years at John Chavis Middle School in Cherryville.
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Leonhardt Farms of Lincoln County had quite a bit of fresh produce for sale at the June 18, 2020 Cherryville Farmer’s Market. (photo by MEP/The Eagle)

Farmer’s Market
first day goes well

Customers glad to see familiar market back in business even if a month late in opening


Cherryville first Farmer’s Market of 2020, a.k.a. the “quarantine year”, was well attended in spite of starting a month late and looking a little different than what most are used to seeing.
Market manager and Chamber Director Mary Beth Tackett said they had over 200 shoppers come by for the market’s first day back in business after the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown of markets across the state.
Said Mary Beth, “We had over 110 (customers) by our 8 a.m., opening, which wasn’t a bad showing for a first day of a market.”
Tackett also noted there were five vendors at this first 2020 market, with a “fan favorite” returning – Martha Pate of Pate’s Bakery, along with the other “food faves” of Lewis Farms, Leonhardt Farms and Sisk Farms. A newcomer for the CFM this year was Hospice of Cleveland County, whose booth was overseen by Krista Haynes, the Patient/Family Care Coordinator. The group is also a CFM sponsor.
If it looked like there was great space between the vendors, don’t worry, that was planned, said Mary Beth.
“We were practicing social distancing. All our vendors have to wear masks as well,” she added.
Leonhardt Farms’ vendor operators Ann Hall and Gail McGloghlin were back, as was Loyd Lewis of Lewis Farms (Fallston) and Noah Sisk of Sisk Farms.
Hall and McGloghlin both said they were glad to be back at the Cherryville Farmer’s Market. Ms. Pate agreed, saying she too was glad to be back in Cherryville at the much-loved market.
“Well, here I am! The cake and bread lady’s back! Honestly, I’ve missed everybody here in Cherryville, and I’m just gad to be back!” she said, with her characteristic big smile.
Loyd Lewis pulled his face mask down and said he too was glad to be back, adding, “It’s good to see that with this virus going on the people all came prepared, wearing their face masks. We’ll be able to continue the market with these good (heath) standards.”
Tackett noted that as the summer progresses, they will get more vendors back at the CFM.
When asked, she replied, “Yes. Freedom Farms Soaps will be back, and I am working to get new vendors added for this season.”
Customer Ron Tedder had on his face mask as he shopped for great food deals, making sure to check out each vendor before her left. He stopped to chat a bit with former CFM manager, Richard Randall, who dropped by to also pick up a few items of fresh produce before heading back to work.
Said Mr. Tedder, “I’m glad for the Cherryville market to be back open. They have great produce here!”


CFD firefighters love their jobs and protecting people


(Ed. note: This is Part Three of the Eagle’s “Heroes Work Here!” series showcasing those in our small community who work hard to make all of us in Cherryville safe during the coronavirus pandemic.)

Cherryville firefighters, like all who serve their towns and communities, along with their fellow public servants and employees, love their jobs and they love helping people.
That’s not to say it isn’t tough sometimes or that it’s easy; it’s not and many times it can be heartbreaking when things don’t go well on a call or there is imminent danger involved.
They are, as has always been said and duly noted, the ones “who rush in (toward danger) when others are rushing out (away from it).”
Nowhere is this more true than with the
two Hometown Heroes who have worked for the Cherryville Fire department for a total of 65-plus years: Capt. Chris “Pudge” Cash and Driver/Engineer Barry Heavner.
Said Barry, “I have been with the CFD for 27 years (paid); and 30 years overall.” For Chris, it has been 37 in the fire service overall; 21 of them at CFD, he noted.
Both of the men don’t think of themselves as “heroes” per se, and get a bit embarrassed by the reference, but they know that people tend to say such about firefighters and others first responders and law enforcement officers, nurses, and such during the COVID-19 pandemic.
For D/E Heavner, doing what he loves is about, “Making a difference about things, saving a life, giving a kid a smile, or watching him smile when you give him a (toy red) fire hat during Fire Day or at some school event.”
Cash agreed, adding, “For me it’s about the satisfaction of being able to help someone.”
Both said, “Doing good never gets old.”
Barry said it’s also about loving your home town (both men were born here, went to school here, and call Cherryville home).
“It used to be you knew everybody. Now, not so much as some have moved, passed away, or new people have moved here,” he said.
Captain Cash added, “Us knowing a lot of people helps us (in our job); people know us and they’re glad to see you. A familiar face goes a long way in what we do.”
Heavner agreed, saying, “Knowing there is somebody coming to help me that I can talk to. That helps a lot.”
The two firefighters know the Lord has blessed both of them as they go about their jobs.
Cash added to that by saying, “Yes. We’ve had a lot of good influences over the years. Most folks are kind of glad to see you (on a call).”
He continued. “We do a lot of things that most Fire Department’s don’t do, such as opening locked car doors, helping folks get into their houses, help with lifting folks, maybe sometimes helping them in with groceries; things like that.”
Said Heavner, “It’s the little things like that. They add up. It’s helping your community in the big things as well as in the little, or small things.”
The key, they both feel, to it all is teamwork.
Captain Cash said, “It takes all of us. All of our guys in the CFD are heroes. It’s not just us.”
Said Barry, “We all take great pride in what we do. Honestly, I never really thought about considering doing anything else. I don’t necessarily want recognition for it (being a ‘hero’). I love what I do.”
Chris indicated he feels the same way, and added, “It’s all about self-satisfaction in helping others as much as we can.”

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2020 CHS Valedictorian, Salutatorian Speeches Recorded And Televised

Valedictorian – Avery Grace Walker: A State Employees Credit Union Scholarship recipient; CHS Star Student Award; 2020 Gaston Gazette “Best and Brightest” recipient, numerous outstanding subject awards from CHS; college: UNC – Chapel Hill, majoring in Nursing; she wants to pursue a career in Pediatric or Geriatric Nursing. She is the daughter of Reggie and Angela Walker.

“Good morning, afternoon, or evening, whatever time you are watching this graduation. 
“I am so honored to still be able to speak to you, even if it is through a screen. First and foremost, I would like to thank everyone who has gone out of their way in the most recent events to make this class feel so special due to COVID-19. Whether that be parents, faculty, City of Cherryville personnel, or local businesses, on behalf of the entire class of 2020, thank you all. You have been a ray of sunshine to us in this series of cloudiness. 
“So, here it is… graduation day. Who would have thought that our senior year would have been cut so short and that we wouldn’t be able to see each other in the process? Our class has surely been through it all, the good times... and the not so good times. But, through everything, we knew we could count on each other to be there for whatever adversity we had to face. We were never alone.
“We have faced many losses as a class. Some of those being parents, grandparents, siblings, and even past teachers, Ms. Boyer and Mrs. Camp. Some losses were milestones in our schooling years, such as a traditional eighth grade trip, senior trip, and of course, classic senior festivities. However, we always found a way to make things better by outweighing the negative with something positive. And I feel that we have defined ourselves as being one of the strongest classes to go through Cherryville High School.
“I have been given the responsibility to expand upon our past. However, I think that the sequence of events that we have experienced together, from the beginning, is what best defines us. Our story truly began as we underwent elementary school with nap time, the Fairytale Ball, space travel, the Q&U wedding that was 100 percent real and legal, many field days, field trips, and more. We hadn’t truly defined ourselves as 'the class with the perfect vision’ until we joined together in middle school, and what a crazy place that was. 
“Middle school will be remembered by all of us as going to break, attending dances, going to the Valentines’ Dance, travelling to Gatlinburg, and being the place where we are all actually kind of embarrassed of who we were and most importantly, of how we dressed. But, sometimes unfortunately, it defines us. Through that shame, we moved on to be high schoolers. Here, we would spend 'the best four years of our lives’; but instead it would be known as the best three and three-quarter years of our lives. 
“Our true bond with one another started as we all came together for one of our classmates as her brother had passed away. We gathered together to pray for Noah, the Hampton’s, and the Cherryville community as we lost a CHS family member. Through prayer and friendship, we flourished in a dark time.
“Senior year was one to remember, though. Some of the events that we were able to experience, such as having a tailgate for a senior breakfast before our last first day of school, having the greatest homecoming and spirit week C-Ville style, driving through town in a parade all to ourselves, and even that 91-90 overtime victory over North Lincoln where Lane tied the school record in points, with the help of us Metal Heads of course, were just some of the things that were truly unforgettable. “Adversity is defined as to be an unfavorable fortune or fate, and what is more unfavorable than having a pandemic ruin everything it possibly could. Unfortunate circumstances have been presented to us in many different situations, but we have always been able to overcome whatever curveball that has been thrown at us. 
“So this, my fellow graduates, is what I believe best defines our past: our ability to overcome adversity. With this being said, if we do all things together, we are unstoppable. With that mindset, we will continue to do great things. With our story, we can illuminate the lives of others.
“Thank you all for being such a big impact in my life. Without each and every one of you and your unique personalities, our past thirteen years would not have been as memorable. To the teachers, staff, parents, honorable speakers, and most importantly, to our Lord and Savior, thank you. We would not be the class we are today without your help, support, and prayers.
“Well, we’ve done it and we have been through it all. There is so much that we should all be proud of on this day. We are at the end of our journey together, but this isn’t the end.
“Remember, fellow classmates, always be yourself. This is how you will make the world a better place and make a difference. Be a difference maker.
“Congratulations Class of 2020!”

Salutatorian – Juliana Leigh Vollmer: Recipient of Merit Scholarships at The University of Pennsylvania and Wake Forest University; 2018 National Academy of Future Physicians and Medical Scientists Award; nominated for the Academies at Harvard; numerous outstanding subject awards from CHS; college: University of Pennsylvania, majoring in Biochemistry and Biophysics; wants to attend Medical School to obtain an MD and a PhD in Pathology and work with Doctors Without Borders Program. She is the daughter of Julia Vollmer and the late Pete Vollmer.

“Good morning faculty, friends, and family. I am humbled to have the honor of speaking to you today. 
“When I was told I would be giving the 'Future’ speech this year, I was elated. And terrified. What lesson should I impart? What would my audience like to hear? How could I write and deliver a memorable speech? These questions swirled through my head in a turbulent storm, each one capturing my attention for a split second before being pushed away by another, more pressing concern. Within that tornado of inquiries, I found a common theme: fear.
“Let’s go back to the first fear most of us experience: the fear of the dark. When I was young, I was terrified of the dark. I adamantly refused to walk outside at night or to sleep in a pitch-black bedroom. Even a night light wouldn’t dissuade my fear since the light would cast shadows along the walls, creating terrible and terrifying monsters before my imaginative eyes. To escape those horrendous beasts I would sleep in my parents’ bed. A nightly ritual of being tucked into my bed, imagining dark hands reaching out from the walls, and fleeing to my parents’ bedroom established itself. For years I would climb onto my parents’ bed, plant myself between them, and drift off to sleep. My parents’ were my protectors, my shields from the awful darkness. 
“My dad, wishing that he could sleep through the night without me kicking him in the back (I had quiet restless legs as a child), eventually decided that I needed to sleep in my own bed. Stubborn as I was, I defied my dad. I know, I know – it’s hard to believe that I went against the rules but believe me – I did. My fear was a powerful motivator. 
“Each night, after my dad tucked me into bed, I would sneak in and hide under my parents’ bed. Once my dad was asleep I would sneak back into my parents’ bed; back into my comfort zone.
“Now, I realize that I wasn’t scared of the darkness – there’s nothing inherently harmful about darkness. Instead, I was scared of what the darkness concealed and what it could create. In other words, I was fearful of the uncertainty. 
“We have experienced countless uncertainties. Our class was born in the aftermath of a tragedy and now we’re graduating amid a pandemic. Though the latter situation offers the ultimate 'back-in-my-day’ story, it is not our last uncertainty. Some of us will go to college, learning about and exploring the world. Some of us will enter the job force, earning wages and experience alike. Whether you choose one of these paths or create another, you will have uncertainty. Don’t try to avoid it or be rid of it.
“Uncertainty is natural and human and inevitable. The future IS uncertainty. But you can’t allow fear to stop you from growing. Don’t allow the darkness to lead you back into a stagnant comfort zone. 
“Take control and decide where you want to go. You don’t have to have a full-fledged plan; if I’ve learned one thing, it’s that the universe doesn’t really care about your 'to-do’ list. 
“Instead, take one step each day towards a goal. I used to sit in a dark room for one minute, then ten minutes, then an hour, accumulating time until I could step into the darkness without hesitation. Every step wasn’t the same size and I wasn’t always moving forward, but I wasn’t letting the uncertainty dictate what I could do or how far I could go. Sometimes, I fell. Today, I still fall – even in the light, even in certainty. Mistakes happen but they are proof that you’re trying and you’re changing.
“Now, I won’t make the mistake of forgetting those who’ve helped me. As I, and the school year, draw to a close, I’d like to say 'thank you’ 
“Thank you to my mother for helping me find security; thank you to my teachers and friends for being with me in the darkness; and thank you to my fellow classmates for taking this ride with me. Many of us came together four years ago and we’ve said goodbye to some classmates while embracing new ones each year. 
“Before we all part ways to follow our own paths, I’d like to challenge you all. I challenge you to not allow your fear to control you. I challenge you to leave your comfort zone, and I challenge you to embrace uncertainty. 
“Walk into your darkness and don’t stop until you find the light.”