Thursday, March 16, 2006
Frank Stewart's face beams when he
talks about his 41 employees at Ultra
Machine & Fabrication and what
they’re doing for the war effort in Iraq
Stewart's business builds compo-
nents for heavily armored vehicles
called the Buffalo and Cougar, which
are resulting in fewer deaths to U.S.
military personnel because of explod-
ing land mines.
Force Protection of Latta, SC manu-
factures the monster vehicles but most
of the armored components are made
in Ultra’s 50,000 square foot plant
near I-85 and Highway 161. Ultra
moved there in September. from a
30,000 square foot facility it outgrew
in the Gaston County Industrial Park
near Kings Mountain.
Stewart received word last
Thursday that two of the armored
vehicles - one Buffalo and one Cougar
- would be brought to the KM facility.
As soon as he told his employees, the
excitement began because it would be
their first live look at the finished
product. Previously, they had. only
seen the trucks on brochures and TV.
Stewart told all of his employees to
invite their families to the plant on
Friday for barbecue and an opportu-
nity to see, climb inside and take pic-
tures of the trucks. A huge crowd
"attended, including some dignitaries.
“Our employees have worked very
hard,” he said. “They’ve sacrificed a
lot of family time and I wanted the
families to know how their husbands
are spending their time.”
The Buffalo is especially impressive.
It is used by Army and Marine per-
sonnel to interrogate land mines - or
Improvised Explosive Devices as the
military refers to them - and explode
them without danger to the 10-to-12
The truck is equipped with a 30-feet
long arm with a fork at the end of it
which digs into the ground and
explodes the bomb. To date, not a sin-
See Trucks, 8A
GARY STEWART / HERALD
The Buffalo (front) and Cougar were on display Friday at Ultra Machine & Fabrication in Kings Mountain. Below is
the fork that the KM company makes for the Buffalo to dig up and destroy land mines in Iraq and Afghanistan.
KM company helps build heavily-armored
trucks which make war safer for military
Hawkins, Murphrey OK with 20/20
Cleveland County Commissioner
Ronnie Hawkins says Cleveland
Chamber is delivering on its contract to
aid economic development in the coun-
ty and until it fails to do its job he will
support the joint 20/20 public/private
initiative which has come under scruti-
ny in recent weeks.
But possible changes in the contract
drawn up last year for the Chamber to
run the county’s economic develop-
ment program could come March 23 at
the commission’s 6 p.m. work session at
the county office building.
“I think the contract needs to be
reviewed by all the commissioners,”
said commissioner Johnny Hutchins,
who called for the termination Monday
of the county’s Cleveland 20/20 agree-
ment with the Chamber in order to
review the contract before it comes up
for renewal in July. The motion died for
lack of a second.
Hutchins voted against the original
contract last year. He said he has ques-
tions about 20/20 that haven't been
Hawkins told the Herald that he sup-
ports reviewing the existing contract
and invites commissioners to contact
him or county manager David Dear
with their recommendations.
Scott Darnell’s dismissal from his post
as the Chamber's Senior Vice President
for Economic Development prompted
several meetings this month that
included an emergency meeting of the
county commission March 3 in which
See Hawkins, 7A
KINGS MOUNTAIN PEOPLE
vu uN Ce, THer
is probably on go
Neighbors will probably withdraw
petition before City Council meets
A petition opposing a 403-home planned PUD housing
development on the south side of Countryside Road may be
Rep. Tim Moore, attorney for the petitioners, said some
residents of the area had not met during earlier meetings
with representatives of Mann
Properties and wanted to
share their concerns
He said the petition would
probably be withdrawn
to our concerns
and we appreciate
before city council acts on the it.
change in zoning from R-10
to Conditional Use R-6 on im
March 26. The 119 acre tract is ¥ Att Moore
owned by Randy Bates, who orney
is requesting the rezoning of
his property on the south side of Countryside and approxi-
mately 3,000 feet west of the Patterson Road intersection.
The Planning Board will recommend the rezoning to city
council. The board unanimously approved a statement that
the proposed amendment is consistent with any adopted
comprehensive plan and also addresses plan consistency.
“We have had good dialog with Mann Properties and plan-
ner Walter Fields and most, not all, of the property owners
have a better feeling about this project,” said Moore. He com-
mended Fields and Mann Properties for taking the concerns
of property owners and amending their initial plans.
Said Moore,”They gave us diagrams and responded to our
concerns and we appreciate it.”
Lynn Wellborn, a resident of the Countryside community,
thanked Mann Properties for listening to their concerns and
making concessions such as outdoor lighting, a second
access point, buffer zones.and traffic concerns working with
the Department of Transportation. A playground, basketball
courts, and picnic area in a central park or open recreation
area is one of the features of the complex.
: See Petition, 2A
KM asks county
for more money
Kings Mountain city council is hopeful that county com-
missioners will approve their requests for additional funds
for several projects in next year’s budget.
County commissioners met with city council Monday
night for a round-table discussion and heard budget priori-
ties or a wish list by council.
Commissioners said the meeting with Kings Mountain
was the first with a municipality on needs this budget sea-
son but it won't be the last since they hope to meet with
other municipalities before the new fiscal year budget is
completed. County Manager David Dear was also present
for the meeting at the Patrick Center.
Mayor Rick Murphrey welcomed the group to the 6:30
p.m. meeting which followed an afternoon meeting of city
"council with Becky Veasey of MAPS Group Inc. who pre-
sented a pay classification study, comparing the pay of local
employees with those in other cities working the same jobs.
No action was taken by council.
Council members communicated on these projects which
they hope can be get additional funding and several new
ones for consideration by the county.
See Money, 6A
u ; :
refinance. | Mom’s prayers brought Dave home |
GROVER- Grover Town ELIZABETH STEWART David j
Council is continuing nego- Herald Correspondent Saunders 1
tiations with a local bank to talks with
move forward on refinanc- “We do lots of reminiscing,” says David Saunders, one of the reg- 3 fellow
ing sewer bonds to lock in ulars at the first Tuesday of the month meetings of area veterans at left to.
lower interest rates on a H. Lawrence Patrick Senior Center. right
| remaining 23 years of a 40 Saunders, who is spearheading the 3 p.m. monthly meetings, 10onNe |
year debt for the sewer sys- gives the credit for the group's founding in 1996 to Charlie Pulley,
| tem. Carpenter, also a World War II veteran, and former Mauney Laurence
Councilman Calvin Memorial Librarian Rose Turner who got the first group of WWII Anthony
Huffman is heading up the vets together to transcribe their memories on tape for the Library and Fred
project which is designed to of Congress in Washington, DC. Hamrick
save the town thousands of The membership has grown to include veterans from the Korean listen at
dollars over the life of the Conflict and Vietnam representing all branches of the military. the
bonds by paying the debt The war years come alive again in the stories the vets relate - from Patrick
in a shorter amount of time. their time of enlistment or as draftees to boot camp and training Center.
Mayor Robert Sides was and service duty, all in audio and videotapes.
on vacation this week but a Saunders lost “real good” friends during WWII They were iy
spokesperson said that bank Manley Morehead who was killed in France; Jimmy Darracott, a Joseph
officers plan to meet with Navy pilot on an aircraft carrier that went down in the Solomon Brymer |
him. See Dave, 2A photo 3