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wrestler in the
goals for 2004
By GARY STEWART
Editor of The Herald
It was not politics as usual in Kings
Mountain and Cleveland County
during the year 2003.
In fact, it was a history-making
In what would have to be voted the
top local story of the year, two
women were elected to the Kings
Mountain City Council, and a Kings
Mountain woman was elected chair-
person of the Cleveland County
Board of Commissioners.
In the long history of the town and
county, that’s never happened before.
Cousins Kay Hambright and
Brenda Ross were the first two
women elected to City Council dur-
ing the same year. Previously, Mrs.
0.0. Walker was appointed to fill the
unexpired term of her late husband,
and Norma Bridges was elected to
serve numerous terms on the board.
To make November's election story
even more interesting, Jerry Mullinax
was also elected to Council. Mullinax
is Hambright’s brother and Ross's
The trio took office December 16
and Mullinax lost a 4-3 vote to Carl
DeVane for mayor pro-tem.
The election also saw incumbents
Clavon Kelly and Dean Spears voted
out of office. Spears lost to
Hambright in Ward 4 and Kelly lost
to Mullinax in Ward 3. Falls won the
Ward 2 race, where incumbent Jim
JOSEPH BRYMER / FILE
Kay Hambright watches as votes
are posted at City Hall on election
Guyton filed for re-election and then
withdrew because of health concerns.
Incumbent Gene White did not seek
re-election and former Police Chief
Houston Corn won his seat. The only
incumbents to win re-election were
Mayor Rick Murphrey, At-Large
Councilman Rick Moore, Ward 1 rep-
resentative Howard Shipp and
DeVane in Ward 5
Accor, a Kings Mountain educator,
was unanimously elected chairperson
of the Cleveland County Board of
Commissioners, marking the first
JOSEPH BRYMER / FILE
Jerry Mullinax, right, talks to Curtis Pressley after being elected to City Council in November.
Cousins elected to City Council,
Accor’s appointment made history
time in the 160-year history of the
county that a woman has held the
Kings Mountain's Ronnie Hawkins
was elected vice-chairman, marking
the first time ever that Kings
Mountain residents have held the
chairman and vice-chairman posi-
tions at the same time.
Serving as head of the county
board wasn’t the only promotion for
Accor this year. Early in the year she
was named Director of
Administrative Services for Kings
Mountain. District Schools, and
assumed that position on July 1.
Previously she had served as a
teacher, assistant principal and princi-
pal in Kings Mountain District
Schools with her most recent appoint-
ment as principal of Bethware
In Grover, former commissioner
Robbie Sides launched a late write-in
candidacy for mayor and won. He
didn’t start campaigning until the
final week before the election.
Sides collected 55 votes to defeat
former police chief Ed Pheagin with
44, and Bill Ellis with 20.
Two newcomers also won positions
on Grover Town Council. Jackie
Bennett, who incidentally was the
only person to attend a candidate
forum sponsored by the Grover
Woman's Club, led the ticket with 84
votes. Barry Toney also won a seat
with 50 votes.
See Top Ten, 3A
Mad cow disease not
major concern locally
BY ANDIE L. BRYMER
Since mad cow disease was detected in a
Washington State Holstein cow in
December, the disease has gotten more
attention nationally. Locally, the reaction has
Cleveland County Cooperative Extension
Service Director Greg Traywich is confident
local growers are not feeding their cattle
animal by products. Most local calves are
sold at the Shelby Livestock Yard when they
reach between 300 to 800 pounds.
to slaughter and sale.
These cattle are purchased by buyers from
the midwest who take them to feedlots prior
BY ANDIE L. BRYMER
and utility improvements
are on the 2004 agenda for
the City of Kings Mountain,
according to Mayor Rick
The water and sewer
department will tackle an
infiltration problem with its
lines. Rainwater is getting
into those lines causing the
city to pay Gaston County
more for waste water treat-
ment, Murphrey said. The
fee is based on volume.’
Murphrey said the lines
do not leak waste products.
Getting away entirely
from using Gaston County
services is in the works.
Currently all waste water to
the east of the ridgeline goes
to Gaston County for treat-
ment. The city would like to
install pumps which would
get its water across the
ridgeline for treatment in
The city also will review
feasibility of building anoth-
er water impoundment at
Muddy Fork Creek.
“We should at least look
at the possibility,” Murphrey
Natural gas lines may be
expanded into the Ebenezer
officials plan a visit to the
state Department of
Commerce for a presenta-
tion on Kings Mountain.
“We want to let them
know what we have in
Kings Mountain,” Murphrey
said. “We have a lot to
He included a skilled
workforce, low taxes and
utility rates and easy access
to Interstate 85 on that list.
The city reduced its quali-
tying threshold for econom-
ic incentive grants.
“We're looking to help
people who are going to
expand,” Murphrey said.
The public works depart-
ment, police, fire and other
emergency responders are
working to create a central
emergency command loca-
tion at the public works
The city hopes to
nate a site for an em
shelter. That could be a city
building or another facility,
Two additional electric
substations are under con-
sideration for Phifer Road
and Crocker Ridge.
Lighting upgrades along
N.C. 161 coming into town
are planned. This coincides
with the town being desig-
nated a gateway community
to Kings Mountain National
See 2004, 5A
City Council, manager
meet in closed session
BY ANDIE L. BRYMER
Kings Mountain's city
council met behind closed
doors Tuesday night to dis-
cuss a personnel matter
regarding the city manager.
Neither Mayor Rick
Murphrey nor council mem-
bers would say what hap-
pened in the meeting which
city attorney Mickey Corry
was also part of.
North Carolina law
allows closed meetings to
discuss personnel and legal
matters. Votes must be
made in open session.
* The special called meeting
was announced last week.
City council member Kay
Hambright did say the
meeting went well. Council
member Jerry Mullinax said
there was good discussion.
Neither would say any
more about the closed ses-
sion which lasted approxi-
mately an hour and 15 min-
Former city council mem-
bers Gene White and
Clavon Kelly and two other
citizens sat in the council
auditorium area while the
meeting took place behind
White, who served as a
council member until early
December, praised city man-
ager Phil Ponder.
“He has an extremely
high level of integrity, just
what Kings Mountain
needs,” White said.
He said Ponder was
“superbly qualified” both
academically and with on
the job experience.
White also praised Ponder
during December's regular
Ponder was hired in
April. At that time, Mayor
See Council, 5A
Cattle prices were average Tuesday at the
Shelby Livestock Market, according to Kings
Mountain cattleman Matt Bell.
Bell is hopeful that the Washington scare
won't hurt the industry.
Mad cow is largely blamed on the protein
prion. It is largely believed to come from
feeding animal by-products to cattle. This
practice was outlawed by the United States
Department of Agriculture three years ago.
Traywich recommends local consumers
who are concerned about mad cow disease
purchase beef from Cleveland County farm-
ers. For more information, call 704-482-4365.
Cattleman association President Wayne
Yarbro says he has been approached by peo-
ple interested in buying their beef directly
from the grower, however he is not set up to
See Mad Cow, 3A
ANDIE BRYMER / HERALD
Cattleman Matt Bell and his son John feed cattle on their Kings Mountain farm.
529 New Hope Road 106 S Lafayette St.
300 W. Mountain St.
225 Gastonia Hwy.
FIRST NATIONAL BANK
Celebrating 150 Years