Give blood Thursday at
American Red Cross
Vol. 110 No.10
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KM Police to begin
Thursday, March 5, 1998
Kings Mountain, NC Since 1889 *50¢
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By Gary Stewart
LAST-MINUTE TOUCH-UP - Keisha Byers
cleans the front window prior to the first day of
business at the new Kentu ied Chi
on East King Street
Kentucky Fried Chicken, a mainstay on East
King Street, Tuesday morning opened its new
building right next door to the KFC which has
provided finger-licking good chicken to Kings
Mountain residents for many years.
Plumbers and electricians were busy all day
Monday getting the building ready for occupancy,
and at lunchtime Tuesday the spacious 3,500
square feet building was jammed with customers.
. The new restaurant is more than triple the size
of the old building. The seating capacity of 82 and
the parking lot with 35 spaces both are more than
double the size of the old facility.
Manager Debbie Shaw said the new restaurant
also includes state-of-the-art equipment with
everything computerized from the kitchen to the
KFC is open from 10:30 a.m.-9 pm. Sunday-
Wednesday and from 10:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Thurs-
KM-BC DRIVE-IN OPENS - Another business
that opened its doors this week is the Kings
Mountain-Bessemer City Drive-In which has
began its 49th season on Friday night.
Drive-in theaters, once popular throughout the
U.S. and especially in the warmer climates of the
South, is on the decline, though. The local drive-in
is just one of 11 in North Carolina and one of less
than 500 in the United States.
But the Stinnett family, who built KM-BC
Drive-In in 1949, are optimistic that the drive-in
will remain popular in this area. They also own
the Sunset in Shelby and the Tri-City Drive-In in
Rick Stinnett, 41, operates the three drive-ins
and looks forward to the KM-BC Drive-In cel-
ebrating its 50th anniversary next year.
“I grew up in the business,” he says. “My mom
still lives right beside the theater.”
Gay and Mozelle Stinnett built the drive-in in
1949 and at first offered not only top quality
movie entertainment but a full-service restaurant
| KFC in new building
FBI follows cash trail to
jail Ghantt and 6 others
In U.S. federal court documents filed Tuesday
in Charlotte, the FBI outlined an elaborate plot by
David Scott Ghantt, 28, and six alleged accomplices
suspected of stealing $17 million from a Charlotte
armored car company’s vaults but they also say that
Ghantt’s capture in Mexico Sunday may have saved °
The arrest affidavits filed by Erik B. Blowers, spe-
cial agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation,
were unsealed Monday.
Blowers said the investigation uncovered reports
of big spending which led investigators down a.
money trail that led to the arrests. Court documents
alleged that wiretapping conversations had three
of the six suspects discussing Ghantt’s murder.
Ghantt was arrested Sunday in Playa de Carmen
in the resort town of Cozumel, Mexico.
The six Gaston County suspects charged with
bank larceny and aiding and abetting after the fact
allegedly helped cover Ghantt’s tracks for five
Jailed in Mecklenburg County Jail without bond
pending another court appearance Thursday are
Steven Eugene Chambers, 30, his wife, Michelle
Denise Chambers, 25, both of Cramer Mountain;
Kelly Jane Campbell, 28, of Mount Holly; Eric Hailey
Payne, 30, of Belmont; Michael McKinney, 25, of
Gastonia, recently hired by Steven Chambers as a
personal bodyguard; and Thomas Nathan Grant. 21,
which support six complaints and arrest warrants,
17 search warrants and three seizure warrants.
Authorities searched homes and safe deposit
boxes belonging to other suspects and to several
others who allegedly handled the stolen cash. Other
rm charges may be
seized were 20
a 1998 BMW, a
Tahoe, a 1998
Ford pickup, a
1998 Toyota Si-
enna, a 1999
Ford Mustang, a
ae lll inventory and
DAVID SCOTT GHANTT | ssets of M&S
lery in Gastonia, credit union and bank accounts
and safety deposit boxes, currency and securities
in Gastonia, Huntersville, Dallas, Gastonia and
Ruth Putnam’s wish
By Elizabeth Stewart
Cancer patient Ruth Gold Putnam, 43, got her
wish Thursday for a romantic, candlelight dinner
at Outback Steak House with her husband, Ricky
Putnam Sr. on their first wedding anniversary.
Mrs. Putnam was also surprised with a limou-
sine ride to Gastonia and greeted at the restaurant
with a dozen red roses.
The Putnam anniversary treat began when Mrs.
Putnam told her home health nurse Rhonda Shirer
that her secret wish for an anniversary present was
a special dinner with her husband.
“We just can’t afford dinner at a restaurant,” said
Ruth, who said she is very grateful for the City of
Kings Mountain's insurance benefits for her hus-
band that have provided the money for her medi-
cal costs. She said the city’s sick leave and vaca-
tion policies have also helped her husband to be
able to accompany her to the doctor and hospital.
Mr. Putnam has worked for the city for 20 years
and is employed by the street department. His son,
Ricky Jr., is a supervisor in the city’s saniiation de-
Shirer has been a special friend of the Kings
Mountain Putnams since last July when she started
visiting her patient three or four times a week and
now assists her with a morphine pain pump that
is available to Putnam 24 hours a day.
Putnam underwent surgery, chemotherapy, ra-
diation and reconstruction for cancer in 1996 and
learned last November that more treatment was
“When it all started we thought it was a minor
ovarian problem but it turned out to be a malig-
nancy in the female organs and I have been a pa-
granted by her friends |
“up the family which also includes five grandchil-
Ruth and Ricky Putham 90 out on the town
to celebrate their first wedding anniversary.
tient of Dr. Robert Higgins in Charlotte for some-
time now,” said Mrs. Putnam.
“My wife never complains,”
But Mrs. Putnam says her husband is the angel
in the family and spoils her “rotten.”
The couple, who married Feb. 28, 1997 have six
children by prior marriages. Putnam’s three boys
and Mrs. Putnam’s daughter and two sons make
said her devoted
dren. Michael Putnam, 21, lives at home and attends
Northside School in Shelby and other children are
Barbara Grissom of Kings Mountain, Eddie and
Billy Grissom of Durham, Ricky Putnam of Kings
Mountain, and Wayne Putnam of Grover. The
grandchildren are David Putnam, Summer Putnam,
Jada Putnam, Kelsey Putnam and Jacob Brock.
Neither Ricky or Ruth talk about some of the
“bad” days that Ruth experiences, only about the
“good” and Friday night was one of the “great”
Both Ricky and Ruth dicssed up in their Sunday
best to be escorted by a tuxedo-clad driver operat-
ing a long, white limousine. Ruth’s nurse had made
See WISH page 9A
See ROAMIN' page 9A
Security cameras caught a man authorities say
was Ghantt, a vault supervisor, loading the 2,748
pounds of cash, mostly in $20s, into a Loomis van
between 6:45 and 7:45 p.m. No one was observed
assisting Ghantt during the theft.
On Oct. 6, 1997 the Loomis van was located in a
remote wooded area near 12301 Moores Chapel
Road in Charlotte. Recovered were two videocas-
sette tapes which allegedly recorded Ghantt dur-
ing the theft, one .38 caliber handgun which was
allegedly stolen from Loomis apparently at the time
of the theft and $3 million in U. S. currency. The
odometer mileage on the vehicle indicated that the
van traveled directly from Loomis to the recovery
site which was located two miles from the Gaston
County /Mecklenburg County line. Investigators
said they thought that a large vehicle had to be used
to offload the missing currency.
Ghantt’s wife reported him missing the next
On October 6 Ghantt was indicted in the West-
ern District Court of North Carolina on one count
of bank larceny. He was featured on “America’s
Most Wanted List” and Loomis offered a $500,000
Two days after the theft, authorities say Steven
and Michelle Chambers started making large bank
Dixon road connector
plans are shaping up
The Dixon School Road extension /connector is
being designed and contracts are expected to be let
in October, Ray Spangler, Division 12 engineer of
the State Department of Transportation, said Friday
during an all-day City Council retreat.
Spangler said the “B” section of the project that
runs between Phifer Road and I-85 will be designed
in Raleigh and will be a subsequent project.
Spangler and the county’s economic develop-
ment director Steve Nigh said major building
projects in this area, some of them in the beginning
stages, would create many job opportunities.
The theme of Friday's retreat was “Kings Moun-
tain 2000 and Beyond.” s
Nye said plans for a Cleveland County Indus-
trial Park on US 74 near Bethware School are mov-
Patriot Homes expects to close on 40 acres of
property on Crocker Road and build in 1998. High-
land Business park is going up off Floyd Street in |
Kings Mountain and Johnson Business Park off York
Road expects to have a first shell building up and
running in July.
Spangler said costs of right-of-way acquisition
may delay construction of the Shelby Bypass.
Nye said a recent inducement policy approved
by the county commissioners could target specific
area development and encouraged local people to
take advantage of the policy. The policy would
assist warehousing and distribution, manufactur-
ing and commercial developers in providing utili-
Nye commended city officials for their prepara-
tion work in upgrading utilities.
Responding to a question from banker Jay
Rhodes, Spangler said DOT gets “bad press” about
pot holes and catches the heat about road mainte-
nance. He said $300 million is spent for maintenance
but there are 78,000 miles of roads in the state.
Spangler said counts had been made of the large
number of potholes on portions of US 74 and
blamed some of the problem on the concrete
See CITY NEWS page 9A
De ES Pen Ie
PROPOSED NEW SENIOR CENTER -This is an architect's drawing of the proposed new Kings Mountain Senior Recreational Center. The city is
applying for a matching grant to help pay for the building which would also require private funds.