North Carolina Press Association
®Vol. 108 No. 6
The icy blast is over but as tem-
peratures rise the calls for service
are pouring in to local plumbers
and insurance agents.
Frozen pipes. Broken pipes.
Busted hot water heaters. Tree
limbs laid over the roofs of houses.
Power boxes ripped off houses.
Some physical damages to houses.
"All in all Kings Mountain was
mighty lucky," said John Caveny
of Nationwide Insurance.
Caveny could not give a dollar
figure on the extent of damage
claims he had received but he said
most reports could be labeled as
minor with the biggest claim in the
$2,000 range from roof damage.
Linda Bennett of Hamrick and
Warlick Insurance said only minor
damages had been reported and
those were due to limbs falling on
houses. "We were lucky," she said.
Mary Wade and Bob Smith of
Smith Insurance Agency had re-
ceived six claims for weather-relat-
ed incidents Tuesday but none ma-
"The Shelby office of Cleveland
County Farm Bureau received a
slew of calls but Kings Mountain
Farm Bureau has had some calls
but we don't have a true dollar fig-
ure," said Richard Morgan of the
Kings Mountain office.
“¢ Morgan predicts there will be
more claims filed as homeowners
venture outside as temperatures
warm and they start looking around
at their homes and properties.
serve as shelters
Home is where the heat is.
For 10 Kings Mountain people
without power Saturday night that
was the Kings Mountain Fire
| Department training room where
' the American Red Cross installed
cots and served hot food.
At Oak Grove Fire Department
the Red Cross set up a similar
home away from home for those
who needed a warm place and
With their homes frigid, numer-
oms other people in the Kings
Mountain area warmed themselves
ata neighbors’ gas logs, cooked on
gas grills and heated with fire-
places and kerosene heaters. Many
people had unexpected company
for a day or two.
"We were without power too but
my husband Johnny and I had gas
logs and it was comfortable and we
See Shelter, 2-A
When big thaw begins,
so do plumbing problems
Morgan said that a Gastonia
woman called him last Friday from
the beach and when she learned
about the icy weather headed
home and immediately turned on
her heat. "She smelled something
and fire erupted and there were
damages," he said.
"We just aren't prepared in this
area for 5 degree temperatures,”
Lane Logan reported few calls
on Tuesday to Logan Plumbing but
said he expected more as the tem-
peratures rise. Logan thinks home-
owners are wrapping and protect-
ing pipes better this winter than in
"We've had a bunch of calls
about frozen pipes," said Bill
Grissom of Goforth Plumbing. He
also said he expects more calls as
the temperatures go up as did
Phillip Bollinger and Don Phifer of
Bollinger Plumbing. Local
plumber Ben Page had a message
on his answering machine that he
was answering a prior call.
Water pipes either froze or burst
because of the freezing tempera-
The city had no water/sewer
problems but without power the
Town of Grover experienced major
sewer problems that took Mayor
Ronald Queen and maintenance su-
A Kings Mountain Public Works employee cuts a big pine tree off
pervisor Dean Causby all day the power lines on North Goforth Street during Friday's freezing rain.
Saturday to correct after the power [ike other neighboring communities, KM had a rash of problems with
went off about 10 p.m. Friday. trees falling on power lines, knocking out power, but most homes had
their power restored in 24 to 48 hours.
See Warm-up, 2-A
Tree limbs falling across power lines - like the one shown
here in the Compact Community - put many
Kings Mountain area residents out of power during last weekend's ice storm. Thawing is underway now,
and the weather man says Friday's high could reach 60.
Kings Mountain People
By ELIZABETH STEWART
of The Herald Staff
When Al Graham saw friends
die on the battlefield in World War
II he asked why he was spared and
a friend told him "God makes no
Fifty years since his discharge
from Uncle Sam's Army on
January 31, 1946, the memories
keep returning to the 72-year-old
Dixon Community resident.
"Tt took my wife and I a long
time to accept the loss of our only
son, Mike, who lost his life fight-
ing for his country in the Vietnam
War," said Graham.
Mike Graham landed in Vietnam
on his 20th birthday July 12, 1970
and was killed in action October 7,
1970. He had been married 4 1/2
months when he was drafted and
was in the Army only seven
Mrs. Graham said her father, the
late John Caveny, was their inspira-
tion and his faith helped their faith
* to become stronger after the death
of young Graham.
"I remember Dad telling us over
and over that God makes no mis-
Evelyn and Al Graham have
their son's Purple Heart and Bronze
Dixon Community resident Al Graham holds the .31 caliber
Japanese rifle and bayonet he shipped home from Japan at the end of
World War IL.
Star and his framed photograph in
a prominent place in their comfort-
able living room.
But the memory of the young
man will always remain in their
hearts and that of their only daugh-
ter, Sheila Graham Brown. The
family also includes their son-in-
law, Joe and granddaughter Ashley
Brown Pearson. The Browns are
their across-the-street neighbors.
"Sometimes Al gets in a melan-
choly mood and talks about his
wartime experiences but the 50th
anniversary. recently of his home-
coming from the War was special,”
Graham has overcome some tough battles
said Mrs. Graham, Al's wife of
nearly 50 years, as they relaxed
over a crossword puzzle and Al
added firewood to a roaring fire in
the fireplace as the temperatures
dropped to subfreezing outside.
Occasionally Al takes his .31
caliber Japanese rifle and bayonet
and shows it to friends. Al shipped
the gun and blue steel bayonet and
holster home in 1945.
"We always kept the nickel plat-
ed parade sword and rifle loaded
and slept with our finger on the
trigger," he demonstrated.
"The odds for our platoon were
two of the enemy to one American
and there were few of my platoon
left when the war ended," said
Graham, who fought in some of the
roughest terrains in the South
Pacific against the Imperial
"Snipers shot friends before my
eyes and some of the guys had a
premonition of death but I never
felt uneasy,"said Graham.
Al Graham must have had an an-
gel on his shoulder.
Bloody Ridge, Five Brothers,
Five Sisters, China Wall, Death
Valley, Wildcat Bowl, the 81st
Infantry Wildcat Division are
See Graham, 2-A
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Kings Mountain, N.C. » 28086 * 50¢
Ice storm leaves
5,000 In the dark,
downs 300 trees
Tired city crews worked around
the clock in sub zero temperatures
during the weekend to restore pow-
er to 5,000 homes left in the dark
by a third winter storm which iced
the area and knocked down over
Twenty-four hours after the
power went off Friday evening in
90 percent of the homes in the city
electricity was restored to 80 per-
cent of residents and city crews
spent the next 24 hours on isolated
areas that required repairs to lines
that were jerked from houses due
to falling trees and tree limbs.
Maney said that Duke Power
had problems that related to Kings
Mountain's supply of electricity. A
trip capacity release module went
out on the Linwood Road breaker
and jumpers had to be cut to tie it
in to the Lackey Street breaker un-
til repairs could be made to the
In the Margrace area where
some homes are on Duke Power
the electricity was off until
Monday. There were about 40 iso-
lated areas where gas regulators al-
so froze up on houses.
The city borrowed equipment
from Union, SC to repair breakers
and four crews from the electrical
and gas departments aided by a
Public Works tree crew and only
one contract tree service made the
Maney called the operation a
team effort by all who participated.
"We contracted Kenny
Bumgardner and Carolina Tree
Service for three days and they and
Karl Moss's public works crew cut
the trees on the ground and
Bumgardner cut the trees in the air
hanging over the lines and
Bumgardner handled the bucket
"Other than the one contract
crew we did everything in house."
"Kings Mountain area residents
shivered through some of the cold-
est weather in years.
During a 48-hour period from
Friday morning until Sunday night
the switchboards at the Public
Works Department received 6,000
Snow, sleet and freezing rain fell
Friday night and early Saturday
coating streets and power lines
with ice, closing schools on Friday
and some churches on Sunday.
Many people without power also
were without heat. Citizens without
heat and water in rural sections had
to start scurrying for heaters or .
See Ice, 2-A
City to give break on bills
The city will give a break to nat-
ural gas customers hit with higher
than normal gas bills in January.
City Manager Gary Hicks said
that customers will be able to make
partial payments at City Hall and
have more time to pay the bill.
Gas Supt. Jimmy Maney said the
wholesale price of gas, the price
the city pays for the fuel, jumped
30 percent as a result of the bliz-
zard of 1996, the second winter
storm of the season in a month
when it was 18 percent colder than
it was the previous year. The jump
was passed on to customers but
Maney said the profit margin for
the city remains the same.
Telephones at the Public Works
Department started ringing off the
hook this week after customers ‘re-
ceived their January bills and in
some instances found them twice
as high as December.
Bills are determined by a base
rate, plus the city's variable cost of
gas - the wholesale price. When
that price spiked 30 percent, cus-
tomer bills also increase.
Customers were also using more
gas to heat their homes in a colder
than average January, which in-=
creased the bill again. Add to that
the fact that the January billing cy-
cle included three more days than a
normal cycle and customers took a
serious hit in their pocketbooks.
Maney said gas contracts were
sold at the highest rate they have.
been sold in 10 years, explaining:
that producers froze natural prices
up. Some cities and companies
have reserve funds and when there
is a spike in gas prices they dip in-
to the reserve funds and eat the in--
crease, he explained. Kings
Mountain had no reserves to use,
thus had to pass on the increased
costs, he said.
The city tracks wholesale cost of
"If ‘the price goes up we pass it
See Break, 2-A
Last weekend's sub-freezing weather didn't stand in the way of Ray
Hale and his children Brittany, left, and Travis from making their usu-
al rounds around town in their little red wagon. Brittany and Travis,
who were well-bundled up, said they were very comfortable.
THE RAEN RY