North Carolina Newspapers

Vol. 119 No. 25 Since 1889 50 Cents
Thursday, June 21, 2007
Arson probable
cause of fire
that destroyed
KM apartments
Grover, KM Middle,
Ku High make Ij !
marks in EOG tests
Arson is suspected to be the
cause of a fire that raged
through an apartment building
at 919 Grace Street around 1 a.m.
Kings Mountain Fire Chief
Frank Burns said that they got
the call at 1:15 a.m. “When we
got there the fire was through
the roof and was burning over
two apartments,” he said. “The
fire originated in Apartment B
in the back bedroom area and
spread up into the roof.”
It was a fast moving fire, he
added, intentionally set. No
chemicals were found on the
scene, but authorities believe
that a couch and a mattress that
were in the room were lit, ignit-
ing the blaze. Although some
furniture and items were in the
building, all of the apartments
were empty, undergoing reno-
vation. No one was hurt.
Responding firefighters from
KMFD and Oak Grove VED
rushed in to wash the flames
away. “We were able to stop the
fire and bring it under control
before it spread to some of the
other apartments,” Burns said.
See Fire, 2A
Clary to nun
for NC Senate
Preliminary results of the Cleveland County Schools End of Grade
. writing tests show local schools are on the rise.
Making the highest grades in the county this year are Kings:
Mountain High (with 28.7 percent improvement since last year);
Kings Mountain Middle (with 14.6 percent improvement) and:
Grover Elementary (with 11 percent improvement).
In 2005-06, Grover Elementary with 82 students tested had a pro-
ficiency level of 57.3 percent. This year, with 85 students tested, the:
school’s proficiency level is up to 68.2 percent. The score is about
eight points higher than the county's average (60.8) and 15. 5 points
higher than that of the state’s (52.7).
Although Grover Elementary Principal Janet Anthony is tickled:
pink and proud of her staff and students, she said, “As you look at
writing test results, keep in mind that each year you are comparing;
a different group of students so results are an ‘apples to omnes
The school’s improvement is still noteworthy and sprouts from a
lot of hard work. “My fourth grade teachers have been the driving’
force behind the increase this year,” Anthony said. “We studied writ- |
ing test results from last year and could see that our conventions qc
scores had kept many students from achieving proficiency. Along |B
with implementing every plan and suggestion received from our | 83%
countywide staff development instruction for content, our teachers {
stressed the conventions taught in the classroom. Linda Helms,
Grover's Curriculum Coordinator, provided individual assistance
and met regularly with our fourth grade teachers as they planned
and discussed writing instruction. At the county level, Donna Senter,
Director of Elementary Education, provided us with the supportand a
staff development that our teachers used to make progress. In addi- *- 8
tion, we had a great group of fourth grade students that worked dili- 2
See Schools, 2A {
Community determined
to take back streets
after rash of burglaries
Mayor Rick Murphrey stands with members of the Kings Mountain Historical Committee beside the
Southern Rallway Company Overhead Bridge that connects Raliroad to Battleground avenues. The
bridge was recently placed on the National Register of Historic Places. Left to right Co-chair Mary
Neisler, Murphrey, Chairwoman Pat Childers and Margaret Ledford.
IVs official, older KM overhead bridge
on National Register of Historic Places
next to King Street, is just an old
Overhead Bridge, was recently
placed on the National Register
But to the NC Department of of Historic Places.
Cultural Resources, it’s more According to'a narrative report
than old - it’s historic. The” ent to” the NRHP, the “rein-
bridge, officially named the: forced concrete tee-beam vehicu-
Southern Railway Company See Bridge, 2A
To many the old bridge, which
passes over the double tracks of
the Norfolk Southern Railway
Walter Dalton is planning to leave his Senate
seat and run for Lt. Governor in 2008. But who
will take his place?
NC Rep. Debbie Clary (R-Cleveland, Gaston)
will make her official announcement Saturday
morning that she will be vying for the Senatorr’s
position next year.
She said that a few things helped her decide to
take this next step, but the most important was
the positive support she has received from her
constituents. “I think it’s just been an opportuni-
ty that has opened itself up and I've received
encouragement from
people in Cleveland
County as well as
Rutherford County,”
Soon they saw a man pushing Maples’
push lawn mower toward the vehicle.
They confronted him and he bolted for
the woods. Mr. McDonald took off after
him with a shotgun in his hand and Mrs.
McDonald stayed behind to deal with the:
other two alleged conspirators in the car.
With a little help from her barking dog,
she kept them on the scene until the
Cleveland County Sheriff's Department
arrived. The two men in the car were
taken into custody and the third was later
captured by officers.
On Thursday night, after a rash of bur-
glaries and shady occurrences, around 45
community members assembled at the
Bethlehem Volunteer Fire Department to
take back their streets and form
Bethlehem'’s first Community Watch.
After catching a man accused of trying
to swipe her mother’s lawn mower,
Amanda McDonald and her husband
Ricky decided it was time to take action.
Clary said. “I will make a
formal announcement on
Saturday morning.”
She added that a couple
of exciting announce-
ments, in addition to
hers, will be released
Saturday morning at
Thomas Jefferson Charter
School in Rutherford
County. “This will be the
first time that this Senate
seat will make the declaration it’s going to make,
Saturday morning,” she said.
Clary was the first female representative to join
the NC General Assembly from her district. If she
wins the 2008 Senate race, then she will also be
the first female senator of the 46th district.
One of the main drawbacks she had about
deciding whether or not to run for Senate, was
whether or not Wes Westmoreland was going to
run. They both represent the Republican ticket
and Westmoreland ran against Dalton last year.
“When he decided not to run, that opened that
back up,” Clary said. “I had lengthy conversa-
tions with Wes on the right thing to do.”
NC Rep. Tim Moore (R-Cleveland), who has
served with her in the house said, “Debbie and I
spoke about this before she decided and I told her
at the time that I support her completely and plan
on supporting her in the election both publicly
and with my vote. I have no doubt that she will
win the senate seat.”
See Clary, 2A
Det. Bobby Steen speaks at meeting to form community watch In
the Bethlehem community ner Kings Mountain.
New Tryon Fire Chief Joey
Davis never said “I want to
be a fire chief when I grow
up.” He doesn’t even remem-
ber thinking about'being a
firefighter as a little boy or a
teenager. But he became one,
just the same.
His journey from fireman
to fire chief began in his
hometown of Cleveland
County. But his starting place
was much different than
most. He graduated from
The occurrence that spawned that action
happened on the afternoon of May 11,
when the McDonalds were taking a day
off for their anniversary. As they were
pulling out of their driveway to go to
town, they noticed a strange car next-
door at Sylvia Maples’ (Amanda’s moth-
er’s) house on McDaniel Road.
“It made an impression on me that the
community members and authorities
pulled together so well to help us out. We
basically already have a community
watch it’s just not official,” Mrs.
.McDonald said. The time had come to
make it official.
See Bethlehem, 2A
Joey Davis named Fire Chief at Tryon
Crest Senior High School in
1993 and then from UNC-
Chapel Hill in 1997 with a
major in Geography with a
concentration in Weather and
Climate and a minor in Music
He had thought about
becoming a corporate lawyer,
going into the field of meteor-
ology and about possibly
becoming a music teacher.
But all of those thoughts were
swept away during his col-
lege internship with
Cleveland County
Emergency = Management
Director and Fire Marshal (at
the time) Beau Lovelace.
“That's when I was bit with
the fire bug,” he said.
“] have known Joey ever
since he interned for me over
10 years ago,” Lovelace said.
“One of his favorite sayings
whenever I asked him to do a
project was not what is the
project, he would just say
‘Not a problem.” That sums
up his attitude in that he can
tackle any problem and work
for a solution.”
While interning at the
Cleveland County Fire
Marshal's Office, the present
Deputy Fire Marshal Perry
Davis got him suited into a
volunteer firefighter position
with Oak Grove VFD in
February 1998. From there, he
joined the Kings Mountain
Fire Department in
November 1999 as a part-
time firefighter and inspector.
Before he went to Polk
County, training officer was
added to his KMFD duties
and he served as vice presi-
dent for the Cleveland
County Training Officers
See Davis, 3A

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