Thursday, June 10, 2004
Vol. 116 No. 24
ETT Try 4 TY ary Co et Tg Te 1 Tr a Um J 3 rT Le ad
I LA A LS te NS AR
Sheritts oppose video poker bill
If passed, legislation could put KM’s stringent zoning ordinance in jeopardy
BY ANDIE L. BRYMER
Cleveland County's Sheriff
believes a bill that’s stated pur-
pose is to increase regulation of
video poker machines would
actually decrease control of the
Cleveland County Sheriff
Raymond Hamrick’s opinion is
in line with the state Sheriff's
Association which issued a press
release last week opposing
House Bill 1763.
According to the press release,
if the legislation is passed, regu-
lation of the machines would be
shifted from county authorities
to the state Alcohol Law
Enforcement Division. Hamrick
says that would make enforce-
ment more difficult because ALE
‘has even fewer personnel than
local law enforcement.
The bill would take away the
authority of cities and counties
to put in place stricter regula-
tions than those imposed by the
state, the Sheriff's Association
says. That scenario would threat-
en the City of Kings Mountains
current zoning which limits
where the machines can be oper-
Kings Mountain Mayor Rick
Murphrey questioned whether
the bill would grandfather cur-
rent local ordinances. He said the
ordinances were passed when
South Carolina outlawed the
machines, causing an influx into
“They were coming over by
the 18-wheeler truck load,”
Crime went up in the areas
where the machines were in use.
That, coupled with complaints
from citizens about family mem-
bers gambling away entire pay-
checks spurred the ordinance,
Hamrick said he could not
understand why if South
Carolina, known for its liberal
laws, would outlaw the
machines that North Carolina
would continue to allow them.
See Poker, 3A
of WSOC contest
BY ANDIE L. BRYMER
By age four Shane
Hammett was singing and
against 24 others for a
recording contract and car
in WSOC'’s Give Me The
Mike! Charlotte contest.
Hammett first auditioned
in May, beating out approx-
imately 1,000 others for a
chance at the semi-finals.
Shows featuring these 25
semi-finalists, four per
episode, will air in late June
and July. Sunday Hammett
tapes his episode, singing
the country tune “I'm
Already There.” His face is
already appearing in adver-
tisements for the contest.
Hammett hopes to be
among the six finalists com-
peting for the grand prize
during a July 28 live broad-
cast. He admits the prospect
of three million viewers
watching him perform is
intimidating, however it
could be the break he
needs. Hammett wants a
recording career but he’s
not quitting his day job
with the Cleveland County
Sheriff's Office yet.
Hammett is a 1989 Kings
Mountain High School
graduate. His wife is Lynda
The semi-final episodes
air at 8 p.m. on June 23 and
29 and July 6, 12 and 19.
Producers have not told
Hammett which date he
will appear. For more infor-
mation, visit wsoctv.com.
Hawthorne RR crossing called
one of most dangerous in State
North Carolina Department of Transportation officials say Hawthorne Crossing, above, is the most dan-
gerous in the state. They are offering the City of Kings Mountain a $7,500 incentive to close the cross-
ing. Below, an artist’s conception of what the crossing would look like if it is closed.
DOT, Norfolk-Southern want it closed
BY ANDIE L. BRYMER
Hawthorne railroad crossing,
considered one of the most dan-
gerous in the state, may close.
The state Department
was particularly concerned that
six vehicles have collided with
trains since 1993 when crossing
signals and gates were installed.
Vehicles coming from
Battleground Avenue approach
closing the crossing. However,
Hicks said the state will press
hard to close Hawthorne.
“There is definitely going to be
two divergent points of view,” he
The railroad and the
of Transportation is rec-
ommending that the
City of Kings Mountain
close the crossing which
has been the site of 18
wrecks since 1976.
City officials and
sentatives met with the
DOT May 11. State offi-
cials will present infor-
mation to the city coun-
cil during the July meet-
ing. If the council decides to
close the crossing, it must first
hold a public hearing.
Michael Shumsky, an engineer
with the DOT railroad division,
called Hawthorne “the most dan-
gerous crossing in the state.” He
the crossing at an angle while
cresting a hill.
Interim City Manager Gary .
Hicks anticipates the three indus-
tries located near the crossing
and the members of the nearby
neighborhood will be opposed to
state are offering the city
a combined $47,500 to
close the crossing.
Norfolk has offered
$40,000 that the city may
use without restriction
and the DOT has offered
$7,500 in law enforce-
ment and emergency
services funding, Hicks
Patrick Yarn, Parkdale
and Tire Cord USA are
located near the crossing.
Jerry Smith, a supervisor at
Tire Cord, said he personally did
not have an issue with closing
the crossing. Calls to the other
two industries were not returned
by press time.
County land use plan to be
discussed at Grover meeting
BY ANDIE L. BRYMER
Want to speak out on what Cleveland
County should look like in the next 10
ears? You can do so Tuesday in Grover.
The Cleveland County Planning
Department is holding an informal meeting
to gauge public opinion on what the land
use plan should look like through 2015.
Consultants from the Centrolina Council of
Governments will be on hand with photo
examples of each zoning category.
Planning Director Bill McCarter expects a
good turn out for the meeting. Land use
meetings in Kings Mountain/Grover and
upper Cleveland typically have the biggest
turn out in the county, he said.
In upper Cleveland and somewhat in the
southwestern corner of the county, there is
resistance to zoning which would allow
commercial and industrial property. Much
of the county’s zoning for these two cate-
gories is currently located along the I-85 cor-
ridor stretching from Kings Mountain to
The meeting begins at 7 p.m. at Grover
Town Hall at 287 Mulberry Drive. Earl and
Patterson Springs will also be discussed.
See Land, 3A
Staff Writer :
Kings Mountain residents will have an
opportunity to speak up on the city’s pro-
posed $26.9 million budget Tuesday night
during a public hearing.
The budget includes a six percent increase
in water and sewer rates. Under this budget,
city employees would not receive raises and
premium pay would be reduced from three
percent of the total salary to two percent.
No money is budgeted for new personnel.
Since the budget was presented in early
PRESIDENT RONALD REAGAN
By ANDIE BRYMER
Ronald Reagan, America’s 40th presi-
dent, died Saturday. Several local
. Republicans and one Democrat shared
their thoughts on the man known as the
Cleveland County Commissioner
Ronnie Hawkins, a Republican, believes
Reagan will be remembered as the peo-
ples president. Hawkins admired
Reagan's ability to be relaxed and open.
County Republican party Chairman
Wes Westmoreland described Reagan as
the president who personified America.
He credited Reagan for giving the coun-
try back its vision after the Iran hostage
crisis, Vietnam War, inflation and
“He reminded us who we were. He
changed our entire outlook as a people,”
He praised Reagan's rise from child-
hood poverty to the White House.
“He was an American success story of
what you can do if you believe you can
and approach it with the right attitude,”
Reagan'’s civility impressed
Westmoreland. He cited the president's
friendship with Tip O'Neil, Democrat
majority leader at the time.
“They were able to sit down at the end
of the day and say ‘did we do what was
best for America?’ Westmoreland said.
Kings Mountain Mayor Rick Murphrey
was an admirer of Reagan.
“He led us through some difficult times
and brought an end to the Cold War,”
Murphrey also praised Reagan's work
in strengthening the military.
Bob Maner of Kings Mountain's Maner
Insurance named Reagan along with
Barry Goldwater as the nation’s top
“The country has lost a great man,”
County Democrat Party Chairwoman
Betsy Wells was impressed by Reagan's
pleasant demeanor and congenial person-
“I'm saddened by the loss of a presi-
dent who gave eight years of his life to
lead the country,” Wells said. “The
Democrat Party offers its sympathy to the
See Reagan, 3A
Public hearing on KM budget
set Tuesday night at City Hall
BY ANDIE L. BRYMER
May, Kings Mountain City Council mem-
bers have eliminated an approximate
$42,000 in revenue. During a second budget
work session in late May, council members
voted six to one to eliminate the car tag tax
which costs residents $5 per vehicle. That
money has been used for street mainte-
Some council members have questioned
continuing a car allowance for eight
employees which cost the city $3,000 each
month. Funding for the city’s special events
department has also been questioned.
The meeting begins at city hall at 7 p.m.