Mark Hughes writes book SA
KM Middle School
North Carolina Press Association
Vol. 107 No. 49
_ Thursday, December 7, 1995
By ELIZABETH STEWART
of The Herald Staff
Courtney Elkins, 9, has always been a queen in her
But Saturday, December 16, she will bi: crowned
Queen of the Shrine Bowl, a high honor fipr the little
brunette beauty born with spina bifida.
Santa Claus came early with a white fale fur from
her grandparents that Courtney will wear (ver a pretty,
warm outfit from the White Plains Shrineiites.
For several years now Courtney has ben the
candidate of the White Plains Shrine Clut} for the
coveted Carolina crown and this year White Plains
Shrine Club's incoming President Bruce Ward nomi-
nated Courtney and she was chosen by the Oasis
Temple of Charlotte.
The excitement is mounting at Courtney's home she
shares with her grandparents, John and Lillian Wilson
Etters, on Dover Drive. Added to the excit¢ment is the
expected arrival of her father, Dale Elkins.| who has
been stationed with the Army in Hawaii and will at-
tend the big event with wife, Teresa, and Clpurtney's
five-year-old brother Shane.
Queen Courtney practiced for the big pairade in
Charlotte by riding in Kings Mountain's Chiristmas pa-
rade Saturday and Shelby's Christmas paracie Sunday.
"She is so excited about Christmas and d¢:corated
our Christmas tree," said proud Grandpa who picked
her up with ease and sat her beneath the Chi'istmas tree
in the family's living room.
A fourth grader, Courtney has attended North
Shelby School for two years and before that! was an ac-
tive student at Jefferson School. A bus pick her up
every morning and returns her home in mid afternoon.
Courtney takes quad canes to school for walking and
uses her crutches at home, sometimes using her
When she was smaller, Courtney required constant
(Grover swears in
new Board members
ey frorn the new Cops Fast grant
the town received recently.
GROVER - The three newly-
elected members of Town Council
SHRINE BOWL QUEEN
Courtney Elkins, 9, to participate in festivities in Charlotte
attention, said her grandmother, but always a joy to her
"Now she has become a regular Grandma helper
around the house since I have been sick and is a real
55 pound bundle of energy and a great green bean
breaker," said Mrs. Elkins.
The Elkins family is familiar with the Shriners
Hospital in Greenville and the wonderful work of
Shriners everywhere, including the local White Plains
Courtney was hospitalized in October 1988 and
again in February 1989 and since then has undergone
surgery on both feet, her right leg, her pelvis and her
right hip. She returns to the hospital in January for
treatment by a kidney specialist and when she is
teenager a "spike" will be inserted in her back to help
"Courtney takes all her hospital visits in stride and
she is a real fighter," says her Grandpa who moved his
family to Kings Mountain in 1987 after a career in the
military as a flight engineer and retired in 1994 from
"This child has been a part of our home since she
was four months old and is a delight," he said.
Courtney, like most little girls, likes to play pretend
games with her brother. She has a big bag that she
packs and unpacks almost daily for her make believe
trips. She has her Santa list ready, is asking for a light-
ed doll house, a Barbie do! and surprises for her
Coloring and working on a school calendar are her
favorite things at school. At home she colors, plays
tapes and listens to country music.
Her grandparents are proud of the progress she is ,
making in school and grateful to God and the doctors
at Shriners Hospital for the improvements in her
Born with an opening in her spine, the road to re-
covery has not been easy for the little girl but she isa
were seated Monday night follow-
ing a swearing-in ceremony led by
notary Judy White.
Political newcomer Elizabeth
Throop, a retired Kings Mountain
school teacher, was seated along
with the two incumbents, Mayor
Ronald Queen and commissioner
“Prior to the ceremonies, Queen
presided at a brief business meet-
ing. He took the occasion to an-
nounce that a full-time policeman
will be hired in January with mon-
In early 1996 the board also
plans to finish grassing of the
Grover Cemetery following
cleanup activities at both the Park
and Cerpnetery recently.
The board voted to pave Main
Street itn front of the downtown
businesses, a total of 35 by 600
feet, and sold two guns at $225
each to [3ill Lail pending receipt of
permits and bills of sale. Lail was
the high bidder for the weapons the
board reicently advertised to sell at
Elizabeth Throop, Jack Herndon and
Friday after her visit to Carolinas Medical Center's
Neurological Clinic, she was fascinated by the lump
of coal from Santa that her doctor told her he was get-
ting for Christmas.
"I haye a lump of coal too," she said, "but my lump
Hof coal fas money nit.”
See Queen, 10-A
Mayor Ronald Queen, left to right, are sworn
in by the Grover Town Board Monday night. Throop is a new member of the board.
You won't see anything like
Grady Costner's Christmas house
even in Christmas Town U. S. A.
And the Midpines Community
just outside Kings Mountain is
much closer and easier to navigate
this holiday season than Interstate
This year Costner and his wife,
Katie, have added a Carrousel with
six Roman horses at the front of
the house, a choo-choo set with
five cars, a stage coach pulled by
(would you believe) three
Tennessee Trotters and a total of
100,000 lights in every color you
can imagine on every piece of
shrubbery, the house, shop, and
back and front yards.
And, in addition, Costner and his
wife have invited Santa Claus to
play host to the hundreds of people
who stop nightly to see the specta-
cle. Starting on Sunday Santa and
two elves, Jason and Josh Murray,
will host visitors.
Costner retired from his carpet
and floor covering business several
years ago and 10 years ago started
decorating for Christmas, adding
more and more lights and tinsel ev-
For nearly 12 months now
Costner and his friend, Sam
Ferguson, have been getting ready
for Christmas. They get the pat-
terns for their creative horses, wag-
ons, trains, etc. from pictures they
find iin coloring books and then
their creativity takes over. They
Santa Claus came to town Saturday to ride in Kings Mountain Ss an-
nual Christmas parade. Approximately 4,000 people came out in the
warm sunshine to see the 100-plus unit parade. Parade photos are on
| Midpines couple's d
A Carrousel with twinkling lights is one of the featured new attractions at Grady Costner's home this
A new K-5 elementary school by the year 2004 pos-
sibly in an area between Grover and Bethware
Communities to serve the growing population is pro-
jected in a school facility needs report which totaled
$12.9 million and was presented by Supt. Dr. Bob
McRae to the county board of commissioners Tuesday.
The Kings Mountain District Board of Education
approved the report at a called meeting Thursday.
It identifies $3 million in maintenance projects and
additional teaching spaces over the next seven years
and projects total state dollars by the year 2004 at
about $15. 5 million, considering increased costs for
The county commission will forward the report to
the state legislature which has asked every school sys-
tem in the state to formulate a proposal for a facility fi-
nancing package since both the House and Senate
passed different school facility funding versions last
year. The legislature is aiming to determine the needs
by asking local governments to sign off on the project,
meaning they would agree it is a fair representation of
what the school system is proposing.
Steve Curtis, Superintendent of Shelby City
Schools, and Earl Watson, Superintendent of
Cleveland County Schools, also presented a report of
public school facility needs to the county commission.
Local school board members discussed the needs af-
ter a presentation by Dr. Larry Allen but did not neces-
sarily prioritize them.
McRae said that the school system has listed expect-
ed costs of maintenance, upkeep, reroofing, heating
and airconditioning upgrades and repaving. )
Does the school system need a sixth ele entary
"Given the fact that more and more classro¢ins are
necessary in elementary schools means the auditorium
and cafeteria spaces are at a minimum, we had some
conversation about where our growth is centered,"
The report identifies Grover and Bethware
Elementary Schools as the highest growth areas but al-
so notes that North Elementary's population is grow-
Between now and the year 2004 the growth rate is
expected to be 500 more students in the system which
makes a case for more classes at elementary schools.
"It's an unscientific study," says McRae, who said
that a few years ago a survey estimated the system
population would be down to 3500 in 1995 based on
the birth rate but it's up to 4,000 currently.
"The board took no action on whether a new school
would ever be built for K-5 or in what area it would be
built but we did have some conversation and included
in the report of pressing needs that by the year 2004
we might need to build a new school to take care of
the growing population for K-5 or K-6," said McRae.
"It's something that we may want to look at more
closely in future months."
~ LITTLE CHRISTMAS TOWN
ecorated home drawing many passersby
holiday season. The front and back yards of his house are lighted with thousands of lights which visitors
can enjoy nightly through December 31.
cut out the patterns, make the
frames, bend the steel rods, weld
them together, paint the frames
and then the lights are pasted on
the finished products. In October
Mrs. Costner starts the task of
putting up lights.
"It's just something we wanted
to do and we consider it our gift to
Kings Mountain and encourage
people to drive by and see them ev-
cry night through December 31 and
stop and visit with us." said Grady.
Mrs. O. P. Lewis saw the specta-
cle for the first time this week and
she was impressed.
"Mr. Costner is so talented and
my daughter (Mary Lillian Nance)
and 1 stopped by and talked with
him about all the hard work his
project takes every ‘year and hat
some people may not know about
it and would enjoy riding by and
See Costner, 10-A
i SR a SE Nu