North Carolina Newspapers

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Thursday, April 19, 2007
Vol. 119 No. 16
Since 1889
50 Cents
Kings Mountain Chevrolet is closing
on April 30, 2007, after nearly three
years in business. The Chevrolet dealer-
ship, in its location at 615 Broadview
Drive, however, has operated in Kings
Mountain for over 20 years with differ-
ent names.
When the most recent former owner
‘Charles Winton drove off the lot, GM
was right behind him. Susan
Garontakos, manager of dealer commu-
nications at General Motors headquar-
ters, said that they decided to close the
plant and liquidate its assets after for-
mer owner Charles Winton moved to
Estero Bay, Florida to open up another
Chevrolet dealership.
~The company looked at several things
Gone with the Wind
when Winton decided to go to Florida.
Garontakos said that they looked at
“dealer profitability,” facts and figures,
weighing with that the history of the
dealership changing so many hands
over the last several years, the decision
was clear. “It didn’t warrant us to keep
it open when he moved away,” she said.
“Plus there are eight other Chevrolet
dealerships within a 20 mile radius (of
Kings Mountain).”
A lot of elderly customers have
depended on KM Chevrolet for their car
repairs. According to a customer,
mechanics have picked cars up to work
on when the customers could not make
it to the shop. They have also delivered
serviced vehicles to people when they
were finished. The service and friendly
faces that filled the lot will be missed.
Garontakos said that KM Chevrolet
customers will still have the opportuni-
ty to go to other dealerships in the sur-
rounding area for service. General
Motors will be contacting the other deal-
erships to let them know and will be
sending out letters to KM Chevrolet cus-
tomers to explain the new situation.
According to, there are
six Chevrolet dealers within 20 miles of
Kings Mountain: Fred Caldwell’s
Chevrolet in Clover, SC, Sonny Hancock
Automotive Group in Lowell, Dunlap--
Johnson Chevrolet in York, SC, Carter
Chevrolet-Oldsmobile in Shelby,
Abernethy Chevrolet-Oldsmobile in
Lincolnton, and Victory Chevrolet in Mt.
GM is now the current holder of the
KM Chevrolet property. “We will buy
the inventory back from the dealer,”
Garontakos said. “We will sell the
assets.” She added that they will also
work with the community in regards to
what or who will be next to occupy the
lot, but it won't be a Chevy dealer.
She said that Winton must have con-
sidered the move for some time now.
They broke ground on the property of
his new Estero Bay dealership in
February and it plans to open in
September. “He likes Chevrolet because
his new dealership is going to be
Chevrolet,” she said. “He's staying with
us. He's just in a different area.”
The other 20 employees at Kings
Mountain Chevrolet were told a few
weeks ago about the dealership closing
and were encouraged to find other
.Garontakos said that when a dealer
wants to move or open up another deal-
ership, GM will sit down with the deal-
ngs Mountain Chevrolet closing
ers to make an accurate assessment of
the dealerships in the area. The ultimate
decision lies with the dealer, she said.
Jim Testa built the dealership, then
named KM Chevrolet-Geo, in its current
location in 1981. But Testa said that there
have been Chevrolet dealerships in
Kings Mountain since before his time,
probably in the early 1900s. “We've
always had a Chevy dealership,” he
In 1990 he sold it to Homer Baucom
and Carroll Gray and the name changed
slightly to Baucom Chevrolet-Geo. After
a while they sold it to Ray McKenney
and another McKenney Chevrolet was
born in Kings Mountain. Since then it
has changed names and owners three
other times: Fred Caldwell’s Chevrolet,
Diamond Chevrolet and Kings
Mountain Chevrolet.
Hearing on four-year
City Council terms is
Darrell Austin Jr. and Melissa Lawrence stand at a huge oak tree - one of the oldest In the city - that was uprooted by Monday's
High winds. The winds caused some property damage around the area, and many parts of the city were without power for several
Gusts over 30 mph send landscapes flying
A little after 9:30 Monday morning
Melissa Lawrence felt and heard a loud “ba-
boom.” A piece of her chimney fell down
near the hearth.
. “I thought, Oh no. The chimney has fallen
over on top of the roof,” she said. But when she
looked outside she was met with an uproot-
ing surprise. Stretched across her front lawn
and blocking the driveway was one of the
oldest trees in town, laid waste by the force-
ful gale. The massive Oak, which had stood
like a sentinel on Lawrence's front lawn at
110 N. Gaston Street, since before the house
{was completed in 1940, was entirely uproot-
ed from its post.
She said that an electrician for the city was
working on lines near her house when the
tree fell. “He said it shook his whole buck-
let,” she added.
Down with the tree came the power lines
feeding electricity to her house. Nick
City Electric
Department said that the winds caused out-
ages all over the city, uprooting trees, sever-
ing tree tops and limbs. Power started going
off line around 8 am. “At the height of our
Hendricks. with the
f See Wind, 11A
Kings Mountain Police Officer Scott Hood directs traffic at the Intersection of Cansler
and King streets after strong winds blew through the area Monday, causing power out-
ages and fallen trees.
tonight at City Hall
Herald Correspondent
City Council will hold a pub-
lic hearing Thursday, April 19 at
7 p-m. on lengthening their
terms from two to four year stag-
gered terms, reversing what vot-
ers decided in 1995.
The hearing, which invites
input from the public, is
required before Council takes a
vote on amending the charter
April 24 at the regular meeting at
7 p.m. at City Hall.
By a 6-1 vote April 4 Council
adopted a resolution of intent to
amend the city charter and by a
7-0 vote called for the special
public hearing.
Ward 3 Council member Jerry
Mullinax is apparently the lone
councilman opposed to a four
year term which Council, by law,
can approve with a majority
vote. Mullinax says since the
people voted out the four year
term 12 years ago that the voters
should make the decision
whether or not to change it back
to two years.
Apparently there is no out-
ward opposition to the charter
change unless it surfaces at the
public hearing. Six of seven
council. members and Mayor
Rick Murphrey told The Herald
recently they favor staggered
terms to create more stability in
government and a politically
experienced board which would
help in economic recruitment
and business development.
Currently, all seats of council
and the mayor are up for grabs
every two years.
The U.S. Justice Department
must sign off on a change before
filing for city offices opens July 6
for the November election. City
Attorney Mickey Corry says
Justice Department approval
could take 60-120 days.
At tonight's public hearing
City Council members are
expected to outline how terms of
city council would be staggered
because at the upcoming elec-
tion some members would have
to run for two years and some
for four years. One method is to
draw straws.
Firehouse Cook-off
Friday, Saturday
at Walking Track
What is the best thing the
Kings Mountain firemen do all
year (besides save your life)?
They bring the mouth-watering
aroma and delicious taste of
award-winning barbeque from
across the country straight to .
your backyard.
The 11th Annual Firehouse
BBQ Cook-Off begins this Friday
at noon at the Walking Track
beside the YMCA and with at
least 53 contestants it is slated to
be the biggest one yet.
There are also new additions
to this year’s Cook-Off which
will run until about 3 pm on
Saturday. KMFD and Murphy’s
Scooter Shed is presenting the
First Annual Firehouse BBQ Bike
Show and Poker Run. The show
will begin at 9 am Saturday with
the bike run starting about 11
am. All of the money raised dur-
ing the Poker Run will be donat-
ed to Relay for Life of Kings
Mountain. The bikes will return
at 3:30 pm for the awards cere-
Packed with competing BBQ
teams, the walking track will
also have Fun Time Inflatables
kid slides, live entertainment
and about a dozen food vendors.
This year’s Cook-Off, spon-
sored by the Kansas City
Barbeque Society, has been pro-
claimed by Gov. Mike Easley to
be the North Carolina Firehouse
Barbeque State Championship.
The winner of the state champi-
onship will receive $4,000, “The
Magic Big Green Egg” (valued at
$1,000), an invitation to the
American Royal Barbecue
Contest and will be eligible for
the Jack Daniels Invitational
Last year’s grand champion,
BS Pitmeisters will be returning
to defend their title. The compe-
tition will be fierce. But two
See Cook-off, 5A

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