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North Carolina Press Association
Vol. 108 No. 3
at Woman's Club
Get ready to kick up those
heels and have some fun.
The Sidetracks Cloggers will
conduct beginner clogging class-
es for youth and adults for six
weeks on Thursday nights begin-
ning January 25 from 6-7 p.m. at
the Kings Mountain Woman's
Club on East Mountain Street.
Registration fee is $25.
Jean Stephenson of Catawba,
SC will instruct.
A special Spectator Night will
be held January 18 from 7-8 p.m.
and the public is invited to pre-
view the course.
For more information call Pat
Hammett at 434-9277 or Corene
Scarborough at 739-5860.
The Kings Mountain District
Schools Health Council will
meet Thursday, February 1 at
6:30 p.m. in the Teacher Center
at Cential School.
The meeting was rescheduled
because of last week's snow.
The meeting is open to the
Center sets meeting
The monthly meeting of the
Women's Resource Center of
Cleveland County will be held at
at the Women's Resource Center,
916 N. Lafayette St., Shelby (be-
hind the Children's Clinic).
All interested persons are en-
couraged to attend.
The Women's Resource Center
normally meets the fourth
Tuesday of every month.
January 25 at KMHS
All parents of seniors planning
to attend a college, university,
community college or trade/tech-
nical school in the fall are en-
couraged to attend the 1996
Financial Aid Workshop January
25 at 7 p.m. at the Kings
Mountain High School cafeteria.
“Eileen Dills of Queens
College in Charlotte will instruct
on how to file for financial aid
and how to complete the finan-
cial aid forms. The free applica-
tions for federal student aid
forms are now available.
For more information, contact
KMHS counselor Anita
€ampbell at 734-5647.
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Thursday, January 18, 1996
6:30 p.m. Tuesday, January 23, i} +f
KM's Kevin Cook to open
exotic pet store downtown
Just nickname Kevin Cooke, 23, "Mr. Snake Man."
The Kings Mountain man loves snakes, in and out |
of cages and even around his neck, and they are in-
cluded in the wide selection of pets he features in his
new business, Kings Mountain Pets & Supplies.
Cooke has always loved reptiles.
His grandfather, Espy Cooke, introduced him to
snakes as a little boy and ever since Kevin has read
books on how to care for all kinds of animals and
birds, took home stray pets of all kinds and dreamed
he would one day own his own pet store.
Several weeks ago he leased the former Quality
Sandwich building on Railroad Avenue from Mike
Brown and has stocked it with supplies and cages
filled with any and every pet imaginable.
In between his job with Food Lion in the Meat |
Department he will run the business with the assis-
tance of family members. His parents, Gary and §
Christi Cooke; his brother, Jonathan, 16; and his sister, [*
Kristen, 11. He hopes his grandfather will also help out
on occasion but not Grandma Cooke. She won't get
anywhere near his three-year-old Columbia Red Tail
Boa, his six-months-old Diamond Carpet Python or his E
three-year-old albino baby Burmese Python,
popular snake pets.
One of Cook's favorite pets is his exotic Tiney
African gray parrot, one of his most expensive pets,
which when grown will have the vocabulary of a five-
year-old human. The bird picks up on conversations
among family members, calls the Dalmatian dog
"Maggie" and Simon the cat by name and makes kiss-
ing sounds to familiar family members.,
Hands-on learning is how Cooke describes his ex-
pertise with animals. He reads how-to books, and he
“has, books in stock, but his secret is giving his pets
tender loving care.
If he didn't have to make a living he would rent a
building and house every pet that needed shelter and
to exotic reptiles, first as a hobby.
He learned how to take care of the various pets and
started saving his money after he went to work in 1991
after graduating from Kings Mountain High School.
Traveling for Food Lion to various supermarket loca-
tions, he works for vacationing employees and learns
about the food business.
"My hours at the pet store will have to be flexible at
first and then I hope to get in the store full time as the
said Cook who sees a demand
for a store to provide pet necessities as well as new
business catches on,"
pets for the public.
Parrots have charmed humans down through the
ages. From Alexander the Great to King Henry VIII
and beyond, people have been fascinated by feathered
fish, reptiles, birds, lizards, hamsters
and exotic animals will be featured in the new business
which is probably a first for Kings Mountain. Cook
plans opening week specials next week and will proba-
bly get his new sign up this week. He will also ask his
customers what they need for their pets that he may
not stock and what new pets they prefer.
Introduced to King, Black, Copperhead and Rattlers
as a youngster, Cooke has devoted much of his studies
hello to strangers.
Kevin Coke has turned his pet collecting hobby
into a new business, Kings Mountain Pets &
Supplies on Railroad Avenue. Exotic reptiles are his
favorites. Wrapping a Diamond Carpet Python
around his neck doesn't bother him a bit.
Kevin wound his baby Albino Burmese Python
around his neck, cuddled a Diamond Carpet Python
and then talked to his pretty parrot, teaching her to say
Running a pet store won'tsbe work for a young man
; who loves pets. Kevin may even shed a tear when he
marks "for sale" on the cages which hold his prized.
Kevin Cooke's prized pet is a Tiney African Gray
parrot which is already picking up conversation
around his new store. The new business will open
in about a week.
Second snow sends shoppers scurrying again
A second winter snow storm in
less than a week sent shoppers
scurrying to the local supermarkets
to stock up on bread and milk.
Almost immediately after the
weatherman started predicting
more snow Thursday on top of the
packed ice remaining on many
roads the crowds hit the grocery
Department stores were busy
with requests for boots. Local
stores also had numerous calls for
chains and snow tires.
Robert Crisp, assistant manager
at Food Lion, said business was
brisk on Thursday and he had to
order extra supplies of both bread
"It was busy all day Thursday
and we ran out of both bread and
milk and had to get our vendors to
bring all they could come up with
and it was hard to find extra sup-
Crisp said that Food Lion is cur-
rently renovaiing its West Gate
Plaza store and will be getting
ready to offer 24-hour service in
At Harris-Teeter, where 24-hour
service is offered, Co-Manager
Helen Smith said the situation was
about the same. She said that lines
were long at the checkout counters
and customers were buying staple
items, including bread and milk.
"We had to send for an extra
bread delivery because of the many
calls for bread," she said.
Though not quite as treacherous
as pure ice, the snow still caused a
few problems around the county
but Kings Mountain drivers fared
pretty well, according to Kings
Mountain police who warned them
to drive slowly.
Ice was blamed for several
wrecks in Kings Mountain. Even
after the sun had melted much of
the roadways there were some ice
patches on Monday and ice was
blamed for a wreck which sent
three people to the hospital and re-
sulted in high damages to vehicles.
Front wheel drive on vehicles
helped drivers to maneuver the
roads to get to work on Friday -
morning, although some workers
Town Hall opened later than
usual and other businesses also
opened several hours late. Schools
were closed but will reopen on
Thursday after a long snow holi-
See Snow, 7-A
Schools may look at early opening next fall
The extended vacation that
Kings Mountain students got due
to the recent icy wintry blast may
cause school officials to eye open-
ing school as early as August 10
next year and scheduling mid-win-
ter.exams before the Christmas
“Change is always awkward but
starting early would also mean get-
ting out of school earlier in the
summer,’ said Supt. Dr. Bob
McRae said he will recommend
to the district school's calendar
committee that they also look at
more flexibility with mid year
teacher work days.
Students missed five days of
school because of snow last week
and then were out Monday for a
national holiday and on Tuesday
and Wednesday for mid-winter
It has been the most lengthy
weather-related vacation for stu-
dents in nearly 10 years but getting
the students back in class hinged
on the condition of the roads and
McRae said that ice on back roads
were a major concern.
McRae said it would have not
been fair to students and teachers
to try to reschedule Tuesday and
Wednesday workdays at the last
minute when roads improved with
sunshine. Monday was the national
holiday honoring the late Civil
Rights leader Dr. Martin Luther
"All in all students have been in
class three days between Dec. 19
and this Thursday when the buses
roll again," said McRae.
McRae said that he will recom-
mend that the calendar committee
and the board of education look at
scheduling the mid-winter work
days at the end of the exam period
due to the bad weather that often
occurs at this time of year.
At Kings Mountain High School
exams have been rescheduled for
Tuesday and Wednesday, January
23 and 24, according to Principal
Phil Weathers. Thursday, Friday
and Monday will be exam review
McRae said the snow makeup
days will take two of the days
scheduled for spring break.
The makeup days when students
will return to class on what was
originally scheduled for holidays
and work days are: Monday,
February 26, originally a teacher
work day; Friday, March 22, origi-
nally a teacher work day; and three
days during spring vacation, stu-
dents returning to classes
Wednesday through Friday, April
The city's auditor Darrell Keller
had some good news and bad news
for Kings Mountain City Council
The good news was that the
city's financial condition is improv-
ing but the bad news is that the city
can expect a letter this week from
the Local Government
Commission admonishing them to
hold the line on spending, keep the
transfers lower and push for 8 per-
cent of the general fund revenues
Keller, Interim City Manager
Gary Hicks and Finance Director
Maxine Parsons held a telephone
conference with Vance Holleman
of the LGC in Raleigh Tuesday and
they passed on the information to
Council that members could expect
a 14-page memorandum this week.
"Mr. Holleman told us to budget
conservatively again, hold the line
on spending and commended us
while expressing concerns that the
city will lose $1.2 million annually
in utility revenues by the closing of
the Clevemont Fruit of the Loom
Plant," said Parsons after the spe-
cial meeting at which Council re-
viewed the audit for 1994-95 and
looked at financial statements for
the period ending December 31,
The city ended fiscal year 1994-
95 with $1.9 million ‘in the bank,
which included $581,453 appropri-
ated for reserves, $242,276 for cap-
ital outlay for projects that went
unspent, and $192,000 for salaries
since some department head posi-
tions had not been filled but funds
had been included in the budget.
"The LGC is telling us again that
our transfers are too high and
based on our high transfers we
would have problems borrowing
and our bond rate would not be ap-
proved until the transfers come
down," said Keller.
"They say the city remains in a
weak financial condition and they
urge us to get our reserves up to 8
percent," he said.
"If we go for a bond issue now
it would not be approved," said
Hicks, who said the LGC's rule of
thumb is eight percent fund bal-
ance in the general fund.
"I know it's your money."
Councilwoman Norma Bridges
raised several questions. She
asked how the city got money in
the general fund and why transfers
See Picture, 7-A
in the bank
The city's bank balance on
December 31, 1995 topped two
million dollars, according to a fi-
nancial report presented by
Finance Director Maxine Parsons
to the City Council Tuesday.
Parsons said the city is paying
its bills on time and will have the
cash on hand to pay March/April
bond payments and for a much-
needed waste treatment plant basin.
However, she said the city must
continue to hold the line on spend-
At December 31, the reserve
fund totaled $535,436; the Powell
Bill fund $567,000; the water and
sewer fund $1.3 million; the elec-
tric fund $145,000; the gas fund|.
$25,405; the sanitation fund
$29,000; and the cemetery fund,
City Auditor Darrell Keller said
that the landfill, water/sewer, elec-
iric and gas funds showed profits
for the first six months of the new |
fiscal year with the water/sewer
fund showing a $175,000 profit,|
the gas fund showing a $255,000
profit, the electric fund showing a}
$3,000 profit and the tapdfill fund
showing a $70,000" profit. At the}
end of the six months he said the
general fund was $300,000 in the
"If transfers were made we
would have broke even," he said.
Parsons said the gas department
figures should be higher in the next
six months of the year since
December billings totaled
$543,000 and most payments will
come in to city coffers in January.
"This is on the books as revenue
but it isn't collected," she said.
Reviewing the cash position at
December 31, the auditor said that
the general fund was actually
overdrawn by $74,000 but the
available cash to spend included
$1.3 million in water/sewer,
$145,000 in electric and $25,000 in
gas. In March and April bond pay-
ments totaling $562,000 will have
to paid and a $300,000 basin wil;
have to be paid for from the wa-
ter/sewer fund. Bond payments
will have to be paid from the elec-
tric fund April 1.
See 2 Million, 7-A
of City Hall last week. Mother Nature dumped four inch
and ice in the area at the first of the week, and came back F
a couple more.
i of snow